The new Nordic Track has arrived ensconced in its box. I am thinking that Aaron and Jonathon and I can slide it down the basement stairs and there it will await the person, yet unnamed, who will assemble the walking machine. Rain clouds are gathering and there is the threat of some flooding in a neighboring town. We live in the Big Muddy River Basin and flooding is a periodic hazard of our area.
Our inner life and reality often control our interactions with others. If we are not careful our brains will assign a meaning to each interaction and communication that we have and the meaning will be colored by our bias and world view of others. Friends and colleagues say one thing to us…and we hear another. By the time that the communication clears our auditory filter…it is much like the old telephone game that we played when we were children. The game consisted of several people sitting around a room and the first whispering a phrase into their neighbor’s ear. For instance the person might say, ‘Molly rides her bicycle to school each morning.’ Then, by the time that the message reaches the ear of the last person on the ‘Telephone Line’ they might report that, ‘Mary says her prayers each night before bed.’ Such is our continuing battle to communicate effectively.
Others are essential to our successful walk through this roller coaster of a life. We cannot make the journey alone. Sadly we have all experienced the hidden agenda of faux friendship. We hear from someone whom we admire and later discovered the they needed a favor from us or wanted to engage us in a business deal…or wanted to sell us something? But…this does not involve most human interactions. At times we are a bit like a porcupine…our friends do not know where to touch our live as there is some pain involved.
Many times we say yes to jobs and volunteer duties that we really do not want to be engaged in. Everything is not for everybody. We must learn to say no…when a request is placed before us that does not fit with our life plan or time constraints. Our friends encourage us in endeavors that are not right for us…but we hate to say no…and we end up a square peg in a round hole.
Walking is exciting and stress reducing and health edifying. Walking is a practice that we have been engaged in since we were born….either metaphorically or physically. Rachel Held Evans said, ‘The folks you’re shutting out of the church today will be leading its tomorrow. That’ how the spirit works, the future’s in the margins.’
We criticize our friends and family and colleagues…with a wanton abandon. We measure them by our mental photo of our life. We measure by the yardstick of our experiences. We judge from the lofty height of our pure motives and sacred calling. All this is accomplished without understanding what the person on whom we pass summary judgment is undergoing or what their mental and emotional state is…or what herculean challenges they are facing…and they are alone…