I have heard the words that if you “grow a wise heart – you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head – you’ll find a good life.” (Proverbs 19.9) Every parent that I know has repeated them in love, frustration, anger, distress, and compassion. Parents know that filling one’s heart with anger, hatred, and bigotry only leads to more of the same. They can, if they find the courage, recount personal stories of tragedy and heartache.
What can I say to those I love that will make a difference? Is there a formula that I can use with the people I meet along the way? Is this the one command that brings everyone to the same decision point at one time or another?
Do these questions mask the real problem?
This week I found myself making decisions while my head was cloudy from stress and lack of sleep. Did the decisions of those moments reflect the movement to my values and priorities that I most treasure? Did compassion, mercy, and unconditional acceptance come through in the words, thoughts, and actions? If not, then did I learn from them so that the mistakes of yesterday will not be repeated today?
If I cannot handle the movement of my own journey who am I to try and dictate, control, or manage the movements of another?
The blunt answer is that I cannot; you cannot either. However this does not let you or me off the responsibility hook! Can we travel with the person who is hurting? Yes. Can we comfort those in distress? Yes. Can we share lessons and quietly nurture in a spirit of love helpfulness? Yes. Can we live and strive for the values and priorities that we hold most precious? Adamantly yes! Do we have something to offer? Yes, and this is critical.
Truth is experiential. When one knows the reality of ruthless trust in God, even if it is only for a brief time, you hold something that is priceless and can never be taken away. Giving this away without strings is our true mission.