Blow Over –
I have a confession. I don’t like air dryers in public restrooms. They either blow too lightly and just move the water further up your arm or they’re so powerful they make the skin on your hands look like ripples on a lake. I would rather have paper towels. They’re quicker and paper towels are something you can grip, and apply as much or little pressure as you like. You can get them into the crevices and all sides of your hands. When you finish you crumple them up and throw them away,
Today, at a community baby shower in Coffee county, Tennessee, there were booths and tables all over the local mall. Parents, expectant parents and anyone else could discover a lot of information and hands on experience from family experts. Every booth or table had free giveaways. Our table had books and free book bags for families if you listened to my “speech” to help dads understand the importance of reading and being involved in the education of their children.
Each of the community and faith-based organizations were there to help. They allowed parents to know the help and support that was available in the community. The baby shower itself was like a blower in a bathroom covering a lot of things but to get the full coverage, the assistance a family might require, a follow-up would be needed. An opportunity for the organization to get more than a name and contact information. A chance for the family to see the organization in action.
Wisdom teaches us that we must be careful not just to “blow over” each other with banal gestures of friendliness but rather to connect with others in a deep way. Our relationships are not to be a mile wide and an inch deep.
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What You Hear, What You See –
The new debate that is dividing the nation is no longer pro-Trump or Never Trump, democrat or republican, progressive or conservative, not even black and blue dress or white and gold dress. The division now is whether you hear; “Laurel” or “Yanny” when you play the following audio clip; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDiXQl7grPQ). The numbers are almost even, 53% to 47%.
As I listened to the audio file and the scientific reason behind what and why we hear a certain word I also began reflecting on our brains and how they interpret information. There’s a quote that reads; “You’re unique just like everyone else.” It’s funny but also true. Not one person on this planet has lived the same life. We are all on this path called life but in different, never walked on before places.
I read an article last week about the “version” of ourselves we want others to see and how its impossible to successfully project this image to another. The problem is each person has experienced a myriad of choices, events, experiences, that have shaped who they are and how they see people. In other words, people see us mostly because of who they are not who we try to be. As many people as we know there are this many “versions” of ourselves.
The question isn’t “Laurel or Yanny?” but why do we spend so much time trying to be someone other than ourselves?
This morning I had a meeting with another community organization. I was presenting a new opportunity to work with fathers in our area and hoped they would help us. I have presented ideas, data, skills and a host of other information, to more organizations and ministries than I can count. I’ve never been asked to leave or had a bad experience but have had the occasional person I was talking to be looking at their phone, out the window or at their watch. Those presentations and discussion following seem to drag on forever. I’ve also had the organization be excited about the opportunity to partner with us. Most, however, are somewhere in the middle.
Today’s meeting was the exception because the woman whom I was meeting with was excited and had some great ideas as to how we could make part of our plan work at her location. She paid attention, listened intently, took notes, asked questions and made me feel welcomed and not rushed to finish so she could start doing something else. In other words, she was fully present in our time together. It was awesome.
It was a great reminder the difference we can make in other people’s lives if we invest our time, our kindness, our respect, and our lives in theirs.
Lack of Information –
The last few weeks I have been dealing with a situation of which I have a limited amount of information. In fact, I’ve had enough information to make one decision or another without knowing how it’s going to work out in the end. It’s a difficult place to be and an even harder place to stay and find peace. It’s nothing life threatening though it could have life-altering consequences.
Situations such as this one can be the source of stress, ruminations and endless supplies of; “What ifs…?” However, I have found myself embracing the moment and repeating a wisdom quote; “If this happens you’re still breathing, still alive, still on the journey of your life. If that happens…same.”
It reminds me of the proverb;
“When confused; chop wood, eat your dinner, sleep.
When enlightened; chop wood, eat your dinner, sleep.”
It’s hard to be in those places of uncertainty as we walk along the path but sometimes it cannot be avoided. So, I place one foot in front of the other and know sooner or later the way will become clear.
No Dumping –
The other day someone mentioned a piece of juicy gossip to me. I replied; “Hmmm…didn’t know that.” and quickly exited the conversation by finding something else to do some place else. One of the things I enjoy is; “Being out of the loop.” I don’t have any desire to know secrets, troubles, and provocative nuggets of information about other people. The truth is I have enough junk of my own and enough problems to deal with that folks can keep others’ tidbits out of my life.
If someone is going through a hard time, facing unfortunate circumstances and needs an ear to bend, or a shoulder to lean on, mine are available but those who are only spreading family and friends’ business all over can stay away. I only have enough passion, energy and time to deal with what should be in my life not what others want to dump there.
Ever feel like you’re missing something? Like everyone else has a piece of information except you? My wife and I felt like this yesterday. We had awoke, ate breakfast, got ready for church with time to spare, or so we thought. We arrived, found a parking space and commented on how full the parking lot was for the second worship service of the morning. We began walking to the assigned building and noted their were no greeters. The foyer was empty, the doors to the sanctuary were closed and we could hear someone speaking from the other side. We went through the doors and walked into a service which was half way over. Somewhere, some how, some way, we had missed the announcement there was only one, combined, service over the holiday weekend. “Whoops!” There were no places to sit and so we stood in the back, leaning against a wall, and listened to the pastor deliver his homily. We did our best to listen to the speaker and not to our legs and feet which started aching after about thirty minutes or so. It was a good service, the part we experienced, and wished we would have had that missing piece of information that would’ve enabled to participate in its entirety.
Life can sometimes feel like we’re missing something. We witness others who never seemingly have a worry or care in the world. We watch as good things happen to the same people over and over and wonder why bad stuff is our lot in this life. If we’re not careful jealousy, anger, resentment can overtake us.
One of the truths wisdom teaches us; is that no one has a perfect life no matter how it may seem from a distance. Each and every person has troubles, heartaches, obstacles to overcome, difficulties to face and burdens to bear. Our acceptance of our shared struggles helps draw us closer to one another and reminds us the journey we walk is never an easy one.