Another movie I loved growing up that I now realize is a moral mine field! But not what this week is about. (I can still love Peter Gabriel's song "In Your Eyes" though!)
As I was helping Mary with something the other day, she turned to me and said, “Mom, you have a big butt!” What could I do but laugh a little and agree. She had spoken no falsehood. Then she went on to say, “But that’s because you are bigger.” Thanks for making me feel a little better Mary Bear, now it’s not just my backside, but all of me. Unfortunately, Tate was a room over and heard the interchange. Needless to say, he was having a good laugh.
Little kids have this way of saying things so bluntly. They do it in such a way that it is a simple observation of the world around them. There is no malice or judgement, just a statement. When you know them and love them, you cannot help but accept it. Of course, sometimes this can get them in trouble when they are a bit too direct with a stranger. A friend was recently telling me a story of how he, as a little boy, innocently said to his neighbor, “Hello Mr. Fatso!” This neighbor did not take the greeting well, and reported the incident to my friend’s mother. My friend paid the price.
It is a fact that we cannot say to acquaintances the same things we can to those we love. Telling mom she has a large behind elicited only a chuckle, but calling a neighbor fat, innocent or not, is a much different thing. So what does this have to do with anything?
It seems the world is plagued with this new (awful) way of communicating. We can now communicate via Twitter, Facebook, etc, about all our opinions, thoughts, and even banal daily habits. I know we can communicate to loved ones using these too, but if the only way we communicate with someone is through these third parties, I think we can classify them as acquaintance at best, and often strangers.
Therein lies the problem. If our interchanges are not being made to those we love, how are they ever going to hear what it is we have to say even if we have a golden tongue? No matter how articulate I may be, they remain unmoved. Sadly, we know too well that often what is being said on these are very rarely articulate or kind.
If we want to change the world, it is going to be through personal relationships built on love and trust. This is how we touch our children’s hearts, minister to a friend in need, and mend broken family bonds and friendships. Personal interaction even allows us to help the stranger as St. Mother Teresa showed us. Instead of being overwhelmed by the big picture, we need to start small.
How much different would the world be if we stopped wasting so much time with these backwards impersonal communication methods and returned to spending more time with those around us? Possibly we can make a simple concrete goal of how we are going to love someone in our life better. Stick to that goal, and the next week build upon it, and on and on. Little by little we can change the relationships around us. In so doing, we are able to be the presence of Christ in their life more effectively. In our children’s lives this means they are more willing to listen and they learn the security of being truly loved. For our friends, it means trusting us in times of trouble to give good advice. For our strained relationships, it means slowly softening hearts to move towards reconciliation.
We must start small - but as Mary will tell you that does not describe mom!
We are called to be Christ’s hands and feet it is true, we are also called to have His Heart. A heart that burns for love of all, and what is love if it is not shared and expressed? It is dead. Save yourself the frustration and wasted time of the digital age, and return to communicating as Christ did, through personal interaction. (Except for reading this blog of course!) Change the world with one small act of love after another. The only way to change the hearts and minds of this broken world is one relationship at a time. Many hands make light work, join me my friends. JMJ