Monday, March 30, 2015

Maybe She Needs To

This morning I see a groundhog racing around a field as I'm driving to campus. I know this field; sometimes a dozen or so groundhogs will scurry across and then dive into their underground tunnels. I imagine this whole network of tunnels and an intricate Groundhog City. I wish I could see it and understand it.

There's so much hidden underneath the surface, I think. I consider their secret lives all morning.

Later, I walk into my building only to see some student sitting right there in the middle of the staircase so no one can pass by without difficulty. She's talking on the phone, ignoring everyone as she sits there like she's the most important thing in the world.

I squeeze my way around her, astonished--angry really--at her impertinence. How rude! How selfish!

As I pass her, I think of the groundhog. It's the strangest thing; I think about the intricate tunnels inside that girl's heart. There's a whole life I cannot see. Maybe she's sitting down because she just received the worst news of her life. Maybe she's sitting there because she can't possibly find the energy to move even an inch.

Maybe something's happened to her, and, for whatever reason, sitting there, blocking everyone's path is an inconsequential thing by comparison.

Or, she's just selfish.

I don't know. But for once, I consider how rude and selfish it is to judge others when I cannot see their underground lives and the intricate network of joy and pain within.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

If You Dominate Every Conversation

I've become aware that I control every single conversation.

I confess! I repent!

My friend kindly tells me that it's my leadership style and perhaps my teacher's heart (and I excuse it as my curiosity), but it's really my bossy, nosey, impatient, and controlling personality.

It's my power-hungry, obnoxious self.

I'm a conversation thief. I steal what you want to talk about, and I make it about what I want to talk about. I also direct the path of conversation. In the classroom, this serves me well, but outside of the classroom, my conversation style doesn't love others. I didn't even realize that I like the position of power in a conversation. Oh, who can save me from myself?

When I think about this today, I realize that I want to transform my interrupting, dominating, controlling conversational patterns into a more loving kind of exchange. But it's too deep, people. When I share how I'm growing, for example, I'm embarrassed by how my very techniques reveal that I still believe I'm in charge and still concerned with my own power.

Case in point: I say things like, "I'll let you ask the questions, or I'll let you talk about what you want to talk about," as if I'm allowing something that I ultimately control. I can't escape myself! Or I imagine saying, "Who would like to direct this conversation?" to grant authority to someone else (as if I had it to begin with). I think I need to stop talking altogether.

What has happened to me?

I want to listen and let others direct conversation. With God, all things are possible, right?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Every Single Frame

I find a quote by photographer Annie Leibovitz that has me thinking.

She says, "I am impressed with what happens when someone stays in the same place and you took the same picture over and over and it would be different, every single frame."

So much of my life in the past 8 years has been about staying in the same place every single day and seeing the incredible beauty, wonder, and mystery in the most ordinary day.

The smallest details of this day--like the human face captured frame by frame by a photographer-- bring about endless things to notice and delight in.

It's different, every single frame.