We all need a little grace right now, don’t you think?
I think it’s important to remember that always, but it feels especially important now. There is a lot happening in our world, and there has been for quite some time.
In some ways, I wonder if we’ve become numb to the headlines, but more frustrated with one another?
I think of a pot of water that reaches the point of boiling. If you aren’t careful to monitor what’s happening inside, the water can bubble to the top and spill over the edge of the pan, creating quite a mess on your stovetop. If you don’t tend to the water and make sure the temperature isn’t too hot, and if you don’t give it a little stir, you will hear the sound of the hiss as the water touches the surface, and you will know you should have been paying better attention.
Sometimes, I wonder how similar we are to those pots of boiling water?
How many of us are walking around with a simmer? How many of us are boiling? And how many are just a couple of seconds away from spilling over?
Just like the pot of water on the stove, we need to be monitoring what’s happening inside of us. Otherwise, one small thing can send us over the edge.
Someone cuts us off while we’re driving.
A friend of ours posts something on social media we don’t agree with.
The waitress gets our order dinner order wrong.
A package doesn’t arrive on time.
The kids are fighting.
We see someone wearing a mask. Or not wearing a mask.
I believe how we respond to these situations gives us an indication of what’s gong on inside of us. Are we giving grace? Showing kindness? Rolling eyes? Giving a disapproving look? Or maybe we have reached the point of full on boil and spill.
Everyone we encounter is facing something. And unless we are close to them, we more than likely won’t know what that something is.
These past months have caused tensions to rise, as we have dealt with things as a society we have never dealt with before. Opinions about how to handle the situations are strong, loud, and everywhere. We all have been approaching it through our unique viewpoints, based on our own personal experiences and beliefs.
During the pandemic, our family really locked down. The kids learned from home, and when we participated in things, we were cautious. To some, that may have seemed crazy, but due to our family’s unique set of circumstances, this was what was best for us.
Yesterday, I took my daughter in for her physical therapy appointment to work on her spine and back. While we were there, we were told that part of her problem isn’t just her spine, but that her lung had to work so hard when she was younger to get breath, it caused her ribcage to expand on one side.
Hearing those words reminded me of why our family chose some of things we chose. We were not willing to take a chance with our children knowing their medical history. Having small children with lung problems was very challenging, but people don’t know that when they see us. They don’t know what our children experienced, or what we experienced as their parents, when they were little and couldn’t stop coughing and were working so hard to catch their breath.
We just don’t know what someone is facing, or what they have experienced that they may be carrying with them – until we know. So let’s try to be kind to one another and offer one another grace. Let’s monitor our pots and recognize if we need to take care of what is happening inside of us. In our bodies, our minds, our hearts. We are all trying our best, and we have been for quite some time. Let’s notice if we are living at a simmer, so we can prevent the slow boil, and eventual spill-over from happening.
And if you happen to encounter someone who has boiled over, let’s remember they are dealing with something, too.
In a time when opinions are everywhere and division feels strong, let’s combat that with love. Let’s acknowledge our humanity and the struggles we have faced, and are facing, and treat one another with kindness. It’s easy to do that with those who think just like us, but what if we went the extra mile and did that with those who don’t?
Can you imagine?
I can. And I believe it’s possible.
Let’s start paying attention to our pots. Let’s tend to our hearts and our souls and recognize when we need to turn down the temperature and begin to address things inside of us, before they spill over onto the surface in ways we don’t want them to.