Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pausing For One Another's Uniqueness

This morning I was walking toward the downtown district of my city when I saw the flashing lights. Immediately I knew that they weren't flashing in order to signal car trouble, but that a funeral cortege was taking place. Instinctively, from my upbringing, I stopped in my tracks and waited as the hearse passed by as well as the first few cars of the procession, as the mother and father, sister or brother followed their loved one to their final resting place.  It's a strange thing to witness within a city, as I am used to gravel roads in the country with virtually no traffic to contend with. But the vehicles that did come across the cortege certainly stopped at the side of the road.

Shortly after this experience I found myself asking the question, "What would happen if we treated each other with as much respect in life as we do in death?" "What if we paused to value and take notice of that person's unique traits and gifts?"

Are you present in your conversations? When you're out for coffee with a friend are you really listening to what they have to say, or are you just bursting to say something in response so that you can hear your own voice? I'm guilty of this sometimes.  The only way that we can truly appreciate and value another person when we're spending time with them is if we are truly present. And to be truly present, it helps to be comfortable in your own skin, to just be able to say, "This is who I am, I am valued and loved, but now is a time when I'm going to truly listen to my friend."

Each friend or family member that we have is a wonder to behold. Their faces, their eyes, their smile, their hair - they're all unique. And that's just surface level - there's their dreams and their passions, their loves and their dislikes.

So often we feel rushed and that we have to say everything in a conversation with a friend. Next time, why don't we try pausing and listening and marveling at this human being that is sitting across from us.