Several people have asked what in the world I'm talking about, so over the next few months I'll share some things from time to time. Before I do, though, it's extremely important to make a few points:
- I'm not sharing to preach to anyone, or to change anybody else's mind about issues of faith. The purpose is simply to share my journey.
- Jesus once said that each person must "carry his cross" to follow him. I've had to give up some things and carry my "cross" to find what I was looking for. You may not have the same cross. Each person has to find their own. So you may not have to give up the same things I did. And that's cool with me.
- I have an easy yet powerful way to test my always-shifting ideas on spiritual things -- does my new thought make me a better person?
The third point has a great example from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen Covey tells the story of a time when he saw a man and his two sons on a subway. The boys were totally out of control, running up and down the subway car, yelling and growling, and causing a major disruption for the rest of the passengers. The father just sat there, oblivious to his rowdy sons and seemingly apathetic about the whole scene.
Covey walked up to the father, ready to give his two cents on good parenting. When he asked the father what was going on, this was the answer:
"We just came from the hospital. My wife, the boys' mother, had been sick for a while and she died today. We don't really know how to react or what to do. We're kind of lost, especially me."
How do you think Mr. Covey's behavior changed towards this man? Immediately he felt a huge wave of compassion, and tried to help with the boys however he could. He didnt' have to focus on his own behavior or his attitude -- all of his reponses flowed naturally from the new perception of this man who had just lost his wife, and the boys who had lost their mother. In 10 seconds he changed from frustration and anger to genuine compassion.
That story sums up what has happened to me over the last two years. I used to focus a lot on my habits and attitude, yet always failed in my attempts to have true compassion for people. I faked it well, though.
Since then my perspective has changed, and with it the attitudes and behaviors have changed all by themselves. I didn't have to work on them. That's my hint that this track is a good one for me.