Individuals, especially men, often have no idea of what attitude and tone their body and words convey. It is as if the mind is logically talking while the body pursues a second conversation. In the middle of a exchange one knows their motive and intent, so it is difficult to see how anyone would possibly hear anything different, but they and we do. Aligning one’s positive motives with every part of our conversation and relationship is crucial if we want to build a relationship of trust, openness, and intent.
The conversation was one that I have had in slightly different ways hundreds of times, but this time it wasn’t my voice! The Russian taxi driver spoke with an accent but so did the person on the other end of the line. From my perspective his voice and tone were moderated, caring, and even. As I watched him drive and talk on his mobile I couldn’t see anything that indicated frustration, anger, or worry; rather his body language and inflection seemed to be filled with compassion.
As he hung up the conversation picked up on a new thread. “My wife is lost between home and taking my son to school. She has been taking different routes since he started school three months ago. I guess she still hasn’t gotten her bearings.”
I began to commiserate but it seems he wasn’t done. “It seems that our conversation couldn’t end because I was mad, impatient, and annoyed with her.”
“I don’t know. She said it was my tone and attitude.”
As I went to response I caught myself. How many times have I perceived this from Cherry and even from God? When God’s compassion results in a miracle in someone’s life including my own I join in the crowd and ask “How did your eyes get opened?” (John 9.10) Even as I replay the scene in my mind I can hear attitude and tones screaming in their own language.
Yesterday’s language need not be today. I can accept mercy and give compassion. The process changes everything.
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