We need rain. The ground is parched and a nice drenching would quench it’s thirst. Yesterday, there was an 80% chance the sky would open up and grace the land with water from heaven. I watched several times as the sky grew dark with grey clouds, blocking out the sun, threatening to unleash a torrent only to see the potential dissipate. Not a drop was to fall all day. An 80% chance equaled 0% actuality.
I was talking with someone this week whose having a difficult time with their teenager. This parent, clearly exasperated and their wit’s end, declared to me; “She just wont communicate with me! When we’re together not a word is spoken. I’m not sure she hears a word I say.” I asked the parent; “Do you know that 80% of our communication is body language? Only 20% is words. When she’s not talking she’s still saying a lot. You’ve just got to be able hear her. It takes a different kind of listening to understand what’s being said when no words are given.” The rest of our time together we discussed ways to hear and be heard with someone who isn’t able, ready or willing to talk.
Clouds and a parent. 80% seemed like a certainty when it came to rain. Speaking being only 20% of communicating seemed like never to a parent longing to bond with a child. Percentages, statistics, probabilities can bring false assurance and disappointment. This is why wisdom teaches that we are not to anticipate, generalize or give up when the odds are stacked against us. We enter and exist in every moment with the realization that every opportunity holds possibility and promise.
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.