In the seasons of life, certain statements take on different meaning. For instance, “I’m up!” meant “I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic””. Today the same statement refers to the transition from sitting to standing. Sometimes it is a monumental accomplishment. Perambulation usually ensues slowly but surely.
The same thing occurs in casual conversation. Some ideas are totally foreign to young people’s vocabulary, and thus misunderstood or not comprehended at all. Events lived through in my lifetime are often discounted by the young as fiction today. The Holocaust or the moon landing for example.
I can only hope that when we have the opportunity for conversations with those who are trying to correct injustices and change historical patterns, we factor in the age-related differences in language, even though we speak the same one. We listen to one another, desiring to support one another in whatever we are addressing for change, but wonder why agreement comes so slowly, if at all.
Also is the willingness to change either our thoughts or our actions. I was recently shopping in a local grocery store when I encountered a little old lady who obviously had nothing next on her to-do list for the day. Every thing I needed found her staring at some product right where I needed to be. It happened several times. Finally, I was done and headed to the only open checkout. Guess who beat me there?
I arrived just as the check-out lady greeted her. She knew her, and tried to start a conversation. The response was surely not the expected one. “Did you know my husband died three days ago?”
The check-out lady said that she knew how she felt because she, too, had lost her husband a couple years back. She came around the counter and gave her a hug.
At that moment I experienced forgiveness. My thinking changed. My attitude changed. My life changed. I’m not being melodramatic here. Forgiveness required nothing more than being present in the moment and forgetting about the previous minutes. I looked at her with compassion and, stating that we didn’t know each other, offered a hug. She accepted. And did she hold on!
I’ll bet that if we have the opportunity to gather around a table to address today’s challenges, we could go a long way together just by listening without the hinderance of past experience, however recent that might be.
I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.