I have to share a little story with you.
Yesterday, I stepped out for a little jog, and wow, the temp was higher than I anticipated. After struggling to get my pullover to part ways from my T-shirt (WHILE walking) without showing my bashful American skin, I noticed that I’d passed an elderly lady standing at the bottom of her stairs.
I stopped, turned around, and saw her little head peeking around the wall. She had this smile on her face like, I was going to ask you to help me, but watching you was more entertaining.
THIS old LADY. I love her. I’ve helped her before. Maybe a year ago. She asked me to carry her walker down her stairs, then close the door for her. So, I knew the drill. Perhaps she remembered *my* drill, too:
- She says something in German.
- I apologize and tell her, in German, that my German is not good.
- She tells me, in English, that she can understand what I’m saying.
This time was super cute…
Lady: Where are you going?
Me: To the Hofgarten for a little jog. You?
Lady: To the doctor! Great. So we can walk together.
And so we walked. Slowly. Very slowly. Together.
She was trudging forward, hunched over her walker, asking me where I was from and telling me the address of her doc. I was walking with a HEAVY left slant, just so I could understand what she was saying down there. (She’s a tiny little firecracker.)
When we made it to the stoplight, it was time to part ways. She looked up, paused and said, “Well…Happy Day!” I shook her hand and went on my way.
I immediately thought of Dave Runyon + his RAD sermon on the Art of Neighboring.
DANGIT, I thought. I should have gotten her NAME! I should have asked her to get coffee sometime. I want to know this lady’s story.
I told myself the next time I see her, I’ll make a point to at LEAST get her name. Per the coffee, well, I’ll assess the situation. 😉
Lo and behold, who do I see trudging through the park almost 10 minutes later???
THE OLD LADY!!!!
(This was meant to be. This was my moment to redeem my regrets. Haha!!)
We see each other.
She starts approaching me and says, “Viel Spaß!”
I stop. I ask how the doctor was.
She doesn’t stop. She keeps walking and says, “I have to run!”
LOL! I tried.
And I’ll try again if/when I see her.
Call me crazy, but that little exchange made my entire day.
Simply walking next to this woman filled my little heart.
After watching the debate highlights (er, lowlights?) and reading all the rants, this little connection was a breath of fresh air. It made me think…
America’s kinda messy right now, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to improve anytime soon. The WORLD is messy right now, and it doesn’t SEEM like it’s going to improve anytime soon.
I have a feeling things are MUCH better in the grand scheme than we’re told…than what we read…than what we see on these screens we’re oh-so-addicted to.
I have a feeling that every ounce of helplessness, blame and fear can actually be channeled into compassion + real connection…through our most basic actions on the MOST local level: with our neighbors.
EVERYTHING STARTS WITH US.
No matter who gets elected in the States and no matter what happens in Europe + beyond these coming years, there are a few things that are actually keeping me sane, comforted, and get this: hopeful!!!
- God is GOOD. He has a bigger plan. He knows what’s up.
- I don’t have to agree with what’s going on, but I can pray about it. I can PRAY for the safety and wisdom of our current and future president, because they are and will always be a child of God…you know, my neighbor.
- I have a choice in how I treat other people, and most importantly, what I say about people I don’t quite understand. My words and actions have a MUCH bigger ripple effect than I realize.
- I can do my best with what so often gets overlooked: everything that’s already in front of me. In other words, I can make a point to get to know my neighbors (literally, figuratively and no matter how awkwardly) and to give others what they NEED, not what they deserve: LOVE, grace, *real* attention, *real* eye contact, an ear, a hug, a small yet powerful hello.
Can we all be a little more self-aware?
Can we stop being so negative?
I’m including myself in this. I need to work on this, too.
But I really think this is the only thing that’s going to get us through it all!!
I have a feeling that things are getting so messy up top because we’re being quietly called to get closer to EACH OTHER down here in the beautiful, messy trenches of daily life.
Instead of criticizing what other people are saying, doing or NOT doing, can we look at what’s happening under our own roofs, within our relationships, in our neighborhoods and how we’re connecting with each other?
Can we rethink how WE are behaving?
I saw that Monday’s debate was the most tweeted EVER.
Hmmm…look at all that connecting going on. Look at all that proximity.
We’re clearly very, very passionate about what is going to happen. We want to TALK. We want to feel supported. We’re coming together in more ways than we realize.
So let’s flip the switch while we’re all here…while we’re all showing up.
Let’s channel the passion into what we CAN control.
Let’s be there for each other.
Let’s TRY to understand each other.
Let’s DO something about it.
Side story: One of my recent cab drivers came to Dusseldorf as a refugee from Syria 10 years ago. He was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever interacted with. He came from a small, small village where everyone knew everyone.
Traffic was horrible, and my fare was doubled, but I didn’t care — because having a real conversation with this man was MORE to me. Asking him his feelings on the current state of things and hearing his honest yet open-minded response was MORE to me.
Another side story: (Real quick! Ah!) When I asked a group of participants in a recent Break Changer session to close their eyes and imagine which 30 seconds of their lives they’d want to relive IF they had 30 seconds LEFT to live, all of ’em boiled down to moments of true connection. Moments that are slipping through our fingers all too often. Moments that are right in front of us…all the time.
Oh, boy. The stage music’s been playing for a WHILE, now…
That “little” story took a turn to wordy town, but….yeah. #ifeltcalled
Before I scurry away: one last thing.
OK, I lied. Two more things. No matter what you believe, I feel called to share two sermons that have been HUGE game changers for me as of late.
If you’re feeling hopeless, I HOPE these help: