A man asked for a few minutes of my day which I didn’t think I had to spare.
But…I sat down anyway.
His life circumstances have become unmanageable and debilitating for him.
Within moments I knew the next steps he should take.
But…I listened intently anyway.
When he wrapped up, I was out of time so I offered some quick direction and prayer.
He told me how helpful it was to be heard and understood. (Not how awesome my advice was.)
Sometimes people don’t care how much you know until they first know how much you care.
But…I guess deep down I knew that anyway.
I like clarity…but…sometimes clarity is a luxury.
Brennan Manning tells the story of when ethicist John Kavanaugh went to Calcutta to serve for a time in Mother Teresa’s ‘house of the dying’. When he was given a few moments with Mother he asked her to pray for him. When she inquired as for what she should pray:
He said: “Clarity. Pray that I have clarity”.
Mother responded: “No, I will not do that”.
“Because clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of”…said Mother.
Kavanaugh objected: “But you always have clarity”.
Mother Teresa laughed and said: “I have never had clarity, what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
I like clarity…but…sometimes clarity is a luxury. So I will pray that you trust God.
This week Jacque and I happened to drive by an old bungalow in a great location that had been remodeled and flipped. We both commented on what a nice job they had done and how we could see ourselves living in a place like that.
The irony is that twenty some years ago we actually did consider buying that very place but walked away because it was outdated and in need of so many repairs. We could only see the house for what it was and not for what it could be.
Don’t make the same mistake with your life. The One I follow said, with God…all things are possible.
Seated ahead of me on the plane was a guy who wouldn’t stop talking. Literally, would not stop talking. I learned about his job, political views, family, friends and pets…and so much more. I overheard his jokes and stories. He was consuming so much air and expelling so much carbon dioxide I thought the oxygen masks would soon drop from the overhead compartment. Meanwhile the eyes of the poor sap sitting next to him were glazed over…
Behind me sat a gal who was a social jiu-jitsu master (the art of getting someone to talk about themselves without them knowing it). She seemed polite, full of social graces, and genuinely interested as she asked a series of engaging questions of her seatmates. And then she listened, really listened.
Next to me was a guy who was taking a nap (The clergy effect).
The secret to connecting is found not so much in the words you say, but more in the questions you ask and the attention you give.
Lessons from my recent time in Haiti:
. Those with less than you (education, resources, advantages…) have much to teach you if you will just listen.
. Serve, offer respect, give dignity and over time you gain influence.
. Contentment and happiness come from people not possessions.
. Just because you can’t meet the needs of all doesn’t mean you shouldn’t meet the needs of one.
. Walk in someone’s shoes for a while before you make conclusions.
. Credibility is earned way more by actions than words.
Well I’m back from the eye-glasses and construction trip to St. Louis du Nord, Haiti. A little frayed on the edges but none to worse for the wear. Our team was simply flat out amazing. Over 700 people had their eyes examined and most need glasses. Lenses and frames are now being produced here and will be shipped in instalments as they are prepared. (All a gift from some friends of the Cypress tribe…Yay God!) As well, an awning was constructed and put in place to provide protection from the elements for children in classrooms. Thanks for your prayers and support.