TRY TO BE A LITTLE MORE UNDERSTANDING

Friday, October 01, 2010

Being patient and understanding of others has never been one of my strong points.

I appreciate what Barbara Brown Taylor said in her book, A Geography of Faith-- AN ALTAR in the World.

She is describing a practice of hers when riding the subway.

"I study the particular human beings sitting around me: the girl with the fussy baby, the guy with the house paint all over his jeans, the couple holding hands, the teenager keeping time with both knees while he listens to music so loud it leaks from his headphones. Every one of these people has come from somewhere and is going somewhere, the same way I am. (Emphasis mine) While I am sitting here thinking I am at the center of this subway scene and they are on the edges, they are sitting there at the center of their own scene with me on their edges. Every one of them is dealing with something, the same way I am. (Emphasis mine) We are breathing the same air, for this little time at least. Sometimes I say the Lord's Prayer under my breath while I look from one of them to the next, but this is optional. Paying attention to them has already shifted my equilibrium. For all I know, one of them is practicing reverence on me."

22 comments:

micey said...

this is awesome and something I could surely learn to practice. thanks again Clif!

Whidbey Woman said...

Wow. I can so relate to this post. I commute 2 hours by bus each day.
I try to be open and approachable, and a good listener. Sometimes I say, "God bless you," as people exit the bus. Often, I say a silent prayer for them. I want them to see Jesus in me. Clif, I like the author's perspective: "...the same as I am."
Really, in the Lord's eyes, we are all the same. He loves each and everyone of us, no matter our social class, ethnicity, personality or situation in life. Thanks for posting this!

Mildred said...

What an inspirational and thought provoking post. I have discovered through the years that often what I interpret to be rude behavior on the part of folks I meet is actually the burden of a heavy load. Sometimes a kind word or a smile is all it takes to lighten their load.

Susy @ The Feathered Nest said...

Everyone has their story. And the remarkable thing is God knows the intimate details of each one. Wow.

Cindy Adkins said...

Oh no doubt, everyone has their own story...and that's why I think we need to bless people when we see them (even if we don't say it out loud) because we never know what burdens they carry...
Sending blessings your way,
Cindy

Dianne said...

Yes, a small shift in our perspective can make a world of difference. Lord, help me today to put myself in another's shoes and to see each one through the eyes of Jesus.

Thanks, Clif.

sarah said...

I love this and it's so true...everyone has a story...everyone is caught up in their own struggle to just be...to live their life....and make it count in some way...

LivingSoAbundantly said...

You're right. Sometimes I am so involved in my own little world, that I miss out on opportunities to notice others and prayer/help them. Great reminder!

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

Working in the public I see so many different kinds of people. I often wonder what their story might me. They often tell me without me even asking, it's part of my job to listen to them. That's the part I enjoy. Your music is so pretty.
Blessings,
Ginger

Mevely317 said...

Guilty, party of one!
I'm so prone to making instant, subconscious judgments ...
rarely stopping to consider what message I'M sending...particularly those "trying" days when I should wear a sign advising, "Caution."

Ruth said...

this is so thought provoking... something i'd surely practise from now on. Thank you!!

Renee said...

What an interesting post. Great idea here for praying for others and spreading God's love.

Susan said...

A smile or a word correctly chosen can be so helpful at times like these, too.

The Paint Splash said...

Enjoyed your thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing. Blessings. Debbie

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Clif, if there's anything I've learned, it is that everyone has their own story! No one is exempt from heart ache of one kind or another. At this very moment, I am leaning heavily upon Jesus for His strength to get me through a very delicate situation. Thank you for sharing a very important message.

Blessings,
Sandi

Pain to Purpose said...

great post! I've been thinking a lot about life lately and how to live it better. That's the subject of my SS this week, or at least honoring someone who "got it." I think you're someone who gets it too!
Carrie

Joan said...

Yes, I can certainly relate. I'm not a patient person. This post puts a whole new perspective on things and I will certainly stop and think about this the next time I'm impatient with someone.

Beautiful pear tree lane said...

As always great posting Cliff and much food for thought.
Sue

Donnie said...

Sometimes my minds eye is so focused on me I never really see the other person. I think my personal prayer should be for me to see what God wants me to see and act, if that is His will. Thank you for the insight today.

Saleslady371 said...

very good message!

MTJ said...

Hi Clif,

An interesting perspective while riding the train. This is something I haven't done since moving from Chicago (riding the subway).

I like this part especially, "Every one of them is dealing with something, the same way I am." We all tend to see things from our own vantage point.

Blessings and peace.

MTJ

Cathy said...

That is a sweet post. I like to watch the people too. Praying for them would be a good thing to do.