What if we could bring Heaven to earth?
What if we brought peace to earth? What if we treated all people with the love, patience and benefit we give those we hold dear?
I work in nursing homes for a living, interacting with certified nurse assistants, nurses, residents, doctors, and family members who are visiting their loved ones. I travel close to 200 miles a day, and stop in various gas stations and restaurants as I go from nursing home to nursing home. My scope of influence and interaction runs the gambit and my opportunity for breathing love in others is diverse and ever present.
I have a new game I play, and it goes a little like this. What if I stopped and genuinely tried to treat everyone I come in contact with care and reverence? What if I humbly asked about a gas station attendant’s day, looked them in the eye and waited for their reply with concentrated curiosity? What if I tried to bring value to their day in that brief moment of time, instead of being a thousand miles away planning, thinking, or dwelling on obstacles in my path. Looking someone in the eyes and listening has the power to shake worlds. Allowing a stranger to merge on the road, not tailing people on the interstate, and holding the door for others even when it’s inconvenient – paying for someone’s lunch, smiling at folks. Practicing active patience, knowing that love travels, mends hearts, and is passed on – that is my new goal. Giving your time, resources and energy to others feeds the soul, and has a funny way of paying itself forward and back again.
This practice is hard. I’m naturally impatient, naturally self centric. Colin Powell’s recent email leak about Hillary Clinton makes me reflect on all the relationships and opportunities I often “screw up with hubris.” When I hear the word hubris I reflect on my disposition and daily touch points with humans of various socioeconomic, education levels and backgrounds. Joy and selfless attention to others in my community is characteristic of Jesus Christ. Focusing on what and who delays my daily agenda, swerving and delighting in my frustration, stress and disgust with those who don’t do or act at the caliber I have magically deemed elite is death – death to others, death to my spirit – and only prolongs and enflames hate and hurt. I think some of my community and past relationships would describe some of my behavior as hubris and self-edifying. The beauty of past categorization and judgment is we may choose to chart a different course. And I will audaciously choose to turn my ship on this turbulent sea of existence.