Sharing Tears

The other day my son did something dumb, but it was something he knew he was not supposed to be doing. I had removed him from the temptation several times. Emphasized and been stern in how he was not supposed to be doing what he was doing. Finally, he was not listening and I sat him down in time out and made it explicitly clear he was being disobedient.

Next, he starts crying. Not the wail of pain or the cry of whining because he wants something. He just stares at me, with tiny little tears rolling down his round little cheeks.

And I am standing there watching him cry.

Then I start crying!

He is a good kid and he is learning boundaries, but I also need him to listen, the first time. It is only so long that until I need him to listen and it is the difference between him running out into a busy street or listening the first time when I tell him to stop and he does not run out into the busy street.

Until that day, I can only bond with him with the minimal vocabulary he has and the nominal understanding of the world he has. But in that moment when he was sitting, staring, and crying. It was the best thing I could do to meet him there, staring, and crying.

We can understand one another when we meet each other in these moments of tears and mutual emotion. We can share a moment together and know that despite our differences, we see each other and though we are different, we are still humans meeting each other where we are. We share emotions and humanity together.

Where are you meeting other people where they are at? How are you showing other people you are human and the same as they are despite your differences? How are you sharing moments of humanity with your coworkers, friends, and family?

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In The Midst

The highway is full of people and life. The road does not lack traffic or action.

When you travel down the highway, you are surrounded by people. They are mere feet or yards from you. They are in their space moving down the road in the same way you are. Going the same direction, possibly even with the same destination.

These people have the same problems and fears you do. Traffic. Speed limits. Tailgating. Fender benders. Stop lights. Flat tires.

They plague you both equally.

Yet the inches of steel and aluminum and white or yellow lines and speed of travel separate you into our own little worlds. You are secluded into your own personal bubble with no connection with the other drivers. And you live with these problems and fears by yourself.

Do you recognize you are not the only one with the problems you have? Do you share your problems with your friends? Who do you share your problems with? Who do you support as they have problems?

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Where I Belong

Belonging. I want to belong. I want to belong to an identifiable group. A chunk of people who all align similarly and are pointed the same direction. A college sports team. A professional sports team. A group of nerds playing video games. A group of people listening to the same podcast, commenting on the same subreddit, or even so simple as to rock out to the same concert. 

I want to belong. 

Most often I know what group of people someone ascribes to by their use of 'we.' I also know what group of people I am ascribing to by my own use of 'we.' We beat the boss in the game, we beat the other team at sportsball, we were talking about topic XYZ online last night. 

When I start to make these comments, and include myself in these 'we' statements I know I have often overstepped my bounds. When I refer to the sports team and say, 'we are playing so-and-so.' It is so incredibly inaccurate but I so want to be a part of the team. I want to belong to this group. I want to be a part of the moment, even if my part is to be on the sidelines cheering along. 

The key is to make sure I am focused on being a part of the right things. 

What are you trying to be apart of? Who is your 'we'?



Balancing Act

I have been looking at the reality of relationships in connection with authenticity, engagement, and depth. How people engage one another, dig deeper, and build truly long lasting relationships. Relationships sharing the deepest parts of our lives. The parts we put in the corner and hide from ourselves and each other.

I have found a measuring system. A measuring system I am sure is true for me and is possibly true for you too. I put my relationships on a scale. When I sit down with someone for the first time or the one millionth time, I have our time together on a scale. The scale has weights on it with names such as time, authenticity, intentionality, and trustworthiness. 

How long have I known this person?

How authentic have they been with me in our relationship?

How intentional are they with me and knowing me?

How trustworthy have they proven themselves? 

I put all these things on a scale and thus I have a relationship with someone. I work to keep this scale balanced. Never putting too much time into them, as to seem needy. Never be too authentic, as I might seem more messed up than they are. Never be too intentional with them, as I might seem stalker-ish or creepy. Never share what we talk about and err on the side of saying nothing rather than anything at all. Confidentiality is king.

However, I cannot decide if this system of weights and counterweights is healthy. Then again, I am asking myself, is it actually worthwhile to keep this scale system? As a matter of fact, would it be best to skip the scale system all together, drop something heavy on my end and see what happens? 

What would happen then? Would they run? Would they respond in kind? Would it improve the relationship altogether? Would I have better friends? Would I be a better person? Would they be better for the relationship we have now? The opportunities seem limitless. It truly seems as if talking more freely about myself would not only deepen the relationships I have but also keep me from the relationships that have no future to begin with. 

How do you measure your relationships? Do you tip the scales or do you wait for others?

Tipping the scales,