I recently spoke to a man who had lost 2 children in a fire that ate up his home and all his possessions. I remember meeting him a few years ago right after the fire had occurred. I was working in the cellular industry and because of the fire, his insurance had to replace his cellphone – that’s where I came in.
Our introduction was a bit shaky… he came to our store to get his new phone and I remember that there were complications and he was so rude and disruptive. I did not know his story. I mean, I saw the bandages on his arms (where he tried to rescue his boy) and I saw the red rimmed eyes, but I looked past all of that, thinking “What on earth is this mans PROBLEM?! How DARE he speak to ME that way!” Later on I learnt about the fire and felt the empathy towards his situation and I immediately regretted my initial perception of him.
How often do we do this? We often judge people based on the way they make US feel, without knowing their story or their pain.
We’re deep in an era where everything is about me me me! There is a culture of utter SELFishness and the scary thing is that it has become the norm. Our children are programmed to put themselves first. Sure, we tell them that sharing is caring but in the same breath, we teach them that they have to be better, look better and achieve more than their classmates do. Are your kids emotionally aware of others?
What about you? Now I am not talking about giving your old shoes to the homeless kid on the corner. Those are very nice things to do for other people. I am talking about considering the next person’s feelings before you speak and act. Being sensitive and emotionally aware of others means showing care and love, without expecting anything in return. It is our non negotiable purpose on earth. I often need to remind myself that I was not created for ME. (Sometimes I need to remind myself A LOT, yo!) We were created for God and for Him to use us in other peoples lives. The rest of the stuff are fabulous perks.
Anyways, back to the customer and the fire. So it’s years later and he brings up the fire and all that he had lost. I was a bit shocked, because I thought the topic to be taboo and a painful one at that. But here he is, telling my colleague all about it, not missing a detail. He then goes on to say that it was a difficult time but he pushed through and that God has been so good to him since then. I looked at this man and thought WOW, I sure can learn a thing or 2 from him! Not only did he feel it okay to remember the fire, but instead of sowing seeds of sadness and regret (to milk empathy and attention) he rather used the opportunity to spark the faith of others – to sow seeds of encouragement! What a selfless act and what a huge lesson learnt!
I don’t know about you but today I choose to take the opportunity to allow God to heal the scars of my “fires” and to use it to be a light in someone else’s life. My world should not revolve around my pain. And my pain should not affect the way I love others.