Two friends were hanging out together for a week. While there friendship transcended good times and bad, this stretch was longer than anything in recent memory. This included eating meal together and sharing a room. The moments of the day – being awake, traveling, and exploring – were spent together. As good their history was, it was natural that the little quirks in life would begin to rub.
As the little quirks kicked in there was a surreal reaction. As one tells it, the story unfolded along the following lines.
“Where is the stylus to the phone?”
“It is here, somewhere. I know it must be, I just used it.”
“I cannot find it, but I know it is here.”
“No worries, it will show in time. Besides, it is can be replaced.”
There was no anger in the conversation. Frustration was not to be found between the lines. The conversation was a gift of friendship – understanding when it was needed most.
Contra indicators can be confusing. The puzzles transcend a missing stylus. When two guys were jailed, “along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears.” (Acts 16.25) Then and now, the signals did not make sense.
“You are not upset?”
“Why, it is just a stylus.”
“I know, but it is your stylus and I lost it.”
“True. Consider it my gift.”
I wonder if I realize how strong compassion is as a contra-indicator. Do I see it as something given unconditionally or as a way to control others? Am I willing to embrace compassion for what it is?
Paul and Silas’ acted in a way that confused everyone around them. Their actions powerfully demonstrated the reality of their words. What others could not understand was not made clear.
You and I can take our best thoughts and make them real today. Whatever they are, our actions will tell their story. If they include compassion, mercy, and acceptance – be prepared. They are contrary to what the world expects.