If you can walk, run
For some have no legs
If you can talk, sing
For some have no voice
If you can write, draw
For some have no hands
In your abundance
give the world,
food for the hungry,
water for the thirsty
an embrace foe the outcast
and listening for the burdened
Live Give Love
From belief, to doubt to love part 2
I care deeply about people and want them to feel loved. One of my principle ways of doing this is thoughtful intentional listening and probing questions to help them open up. My goal was always to console past hurts and pains.
I had many experiences pouring time and energy into others in this way. I was always happy and joyous about the opportunity and saw the blessings and the fruit. It was a signature part of who I was and how I loved people. Then I met Eric.
Eric had previously been known to be a very happy go lucky energetic individual. Everyone on campus knew who he was. We had very opposite upbringings. He was raised mostly by a single mother from divorced parents just above poverty. I was raised by two married parents in a middle class home. However, we always respected each others point of view and enjoyed our conversations that stretched our previous beliefs. I was looking forward to my year with him as a roommate.
Unfortunately, the happy bubbly individual I had known went through an identity crisis and began wallowing in all of his childhood daddy and family issues. I was happy to help despite my own identity crisis where I was terrified of who I would become and that our conversations were rarely conducive to my sleep cycle.
He believed that he was a sham on the outside pretending to always happy. Now he was going to live in each moment honestly. He wanted so bad to have some sort of female affection. And many things like that. On several occasions I gave up what turned out to be a whole letter grade in order to spend time listening and sympathizing with him. Worth it.
I was falling into my own pit of depression, but still I made it a point to share in his life. A girl he had been good friends with had written him a letter saying he was sexy. Most of the conversation I do not remember, but this, “You know what she said, she thought I was sexy. Sexy? Me?” He was rather overweight. “She has a boyfriend and yet she has been my friend and encouraged me. She wrote me a note. The only bit of encouragement I have had all semester. No one else has tried to be a part of my life or encourage me or understands what I am going through.”
Of course not. Especially not the guy sitting across from you two hours past his bedtime who was in the middle of spiraling towards thoughts of suicide. Nope no one.
It was at that moment that I realized… People suck. People will suck you dry of all of your energy. Then, in return. They just sit there and do nothing. No growth. No life change. No progress. Just a black hole sucking up all of the attention.
My identity was wrapped up in my ability to help effect a positive change in others. I had always been able to be some sort of a blessings in others lives, regardless of how small. And now someone who I thought was going to be a close friend threw out all of my loving efforts. My care was rejected and the seed of doubt was planted. If they can just throw away all of the care and attention, why bother?
Redeeming Black Friday
Black Friday does ruin the classic ideal of Thanksgiving being a nice meal with friends and family for those that begin lining up at stores at 5pm on Thursday evening. However, I do not want to give the impression that those who do such things are horrible stuff focused people. Besides many people, including one of my cousins, love the rush of trying to find the deals. It is their “sporting” hunt. Rather than shooting birds, they try and nab the deals. So for the shopping lovers, here are a few tips on how to redeem the shopping holiday.
First, when you are out shopping smile and say hi to others. It is amazing how something as simple as a smile and “hello, how are you doing?” can change a random persons day for the better. You can even step it up by asking, “who are you buying for?” and following that up with, “what do you think they will think of the gift?”
Second, be thankful. Thanksgiving is about being thankful. It used to be thankful for not dying and having food. Now we can be thankful that we do get to buy stuff. You should remember that there are people who are less fortunate than you and donate to Operation Christmas child or some other holiday giving, like buying a goat for a village through World Vision. But, you should also be thankful for the stuff that you do have. Denying the blessings that you have received is not the best way to remember or help those who don’t have the same blessings. Enjoying them is.
Third, have fun with the process of thinking of others and buying them gifts. Get creative. Think of ways of gifts that will make memories.
Finally, while you are in the checkout line standing in line after line, think of funny stories to tell or memories from seasons past. Sharing stories is one of the most powerful forms of connection and hope (if you tell it well). Be vulnerable, give it a try.