The feedback caught me off guard. “I have been observing you. You have been doing what is right. The accusations against you are childish.”
I did not know I was being watched. Yes, I know everyone watches. Most of the time I watch without thinking. People just act the way they act. I note their behaviors, respond to their actions and it ends there. I may have a view however I rarely take the time to reflect in depth of how others see them in contrast to myself. Evidently someone had taken the time to do this about me.
My reaction was “interesting” and “what did you find”?
As I listened to another tell my story I realized that one never knows the outcome of one’s decisions and actions in advance. It can be easily to anticipate the immediate. The unknown rests in how it impacts others and the ripples that follow.
As I considered the story that follows after the immediate, I realized that I am not the first one to observe the circle. Paul noted that even close relationships rarely understand how their actions will touch the other. He specifically addresses both parties; “You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.” (1 Corinthians 7.16)
There is a loop in our lives. We cannot see it. We cannot fully predict how it will work. What we can do is determine the way it begins. The reminders I keep close to my heart include the following.
Worrying about what happens later only distracts one from the moment where one must act. It is in the present that the future is born.
One cannot control the freedom of others. One does control, in all circumstances, how one exercises her or his freedom.
We are never alone. We are all part of a bigger story with God at the center.
The circle begins now.