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Way back before I was a mom, we lived in another part of town and I took the bus to work at the University.  One day I was standing at the bus stop when a group of preschoolers on a field trip joined me.  One little boy marched up to me and through his arms around me.  “I love her and I’m going to marry her.”

I chatted with one of the chaperones but now I don’t remember what we were discussing.  It was small talk but at some point I revealed that I had no idea who this kid was.  She expected me to lose my cool but really? Wouldn’t I have done it when he first attached himself to me?

In truth, it was a spectacular way to start my day.  How often are we greeted with such unconditional love?  I can’t help but think that this is why Christ told us to come as children.

Leave behind your preconceived notions, your conditions, your check lists.  Take a seat.  Open your heart and mind.

When you do, you can approach others with this level of joy.  “Hey, I know you!  You carry a spark of the Divine, just like me.”

–SueBE

Until this week, I had never heard of it.  Motive Attribution asymmetry.  I’d never heard of it but I’ve seen it in action.  I’ve been guilty of it too.

In this phenomenon, we assume that our motive or outlook is based on love.  Whoever we disagree with?  Their motives are based on hate.

Motive attribution asymmetry is worse than intolerance.  If I think you are hateful, ignorant or just plain stupid, it is easy to be contemptuous.  If you think my opinion is immoral, I am that much easier to dismiss.

Contempt causes stress and anxiety.  Contempt divides.

Disagreement is natural.  My husband and I always joke that if we are both in the room, there are likely to be three or four opinions on any given matter.

Maybe just maybe I should try to remember that, short-sighted though the other person may seem, they too are a child of God, imperfect and flawed just like me.

Child of God.  Hopefully if I repeat it enough now I’ll remember it the next time I’m tempted to open my big mouth.

–SueBE

Seriously, there are times you would think that Lori, Ruth and I coordinate topics.  We’ve tried that.  What we write is so based on inspiration that scheduling something ahead of time can be tough.  But we do have these God moments – those times when God puts something into our hearts.

Think about all the people who could have, and probably did judge Ruth, because of her forgetfulness. If you haven’t read her post yet, click-through here.  It would have been easy to decide that she just didn’t take things as seriously as they did.  But if you know Ruth, you know that just isn’t the case.  I’m just happy that Ruth found so many people who were willing to join in her in a laugh and an understanding smile.  That’s something Ruth is amazingly good at creating – laughter and understanding.

And really we need more of that right now.  As election time nears again — yes, I mentioned it.  The stupid elections.

I’m already sick of it mainly because I’m sick of the way that people are talking to each other.  One of my friends has taken to posting pieces about Republican politicians.  She finds the haters.  Then she posts a news story about something they’ve said or done and she tags these stories.  “If you vote for this person, you are the problem.”

On the one hand, I understand her frustration.  Believe me.  I’m a liberal who was born in Texas and lives in Missouri.  I get the frustration.

But you aren’t engaging these people.  You aren’t asking them, why they voted for someone or what about the policies attracted them.

This isn’t doing good.  This is building a wall along political boundaries.

The saddest part is that Christ crossed boundaries.  He ate with tax collectors.  He came into contact with lepers.  He looked past problems and infirmities.  He looked into people’s eyes and saw the child of God within.

Be His hands.  Be His feet.  Go into the world and take down the walls.

–SueBE

A number of my friends are librarians and one of them recently told a story on herself.  No surprise, dealing with difficult library patrons is annoying.  She can’t just give them to another librarian.  She can’t find something to do in the back.  And she has to keep them from impacting how she deals with the next person.

While they are griping, she takes a deep breath and says to herself, “This is a child of God.  Remember that – child of God.”  It may not change how this person behaves, but it does change how she views them.  She says that she has actually felt the tension draining from her shoulders.

So many of us seem to embrace the aggravation and the anger that people bring into our lives.  We post about it online.  We retell the story again and again.  How different might our outlook, and our days, become if instead we said this small, high-impact prayer?

“This is a child of God.  Remember that – child of God.”

–SueBE

It seems funny that I’m telling people to connect face-to-face when so much of my work is online.  Sadly, I think that the problem is that screens make it to easy for us to forget that behind that opinion is a human being.  We want to slap down that discouraging, hate-filled image so we post something that is often no less hate-filled.

My recommendation?  Before you comment, think about the person behind the post.  Would you say this to his or her face?  And I’m not asking if you have the nerve to be a punk.  That’s nothing today.

Do you have the nerve to say the hard thing that needs to be said but say it out of love?  Do you have the nerve to see this person as a fellow child of God and still say “I’m sorry but your behavior?  Your words, right here?  Not acceptable.”

We need that human connection.  Some of us get it face to face.  Admittedly that is the easiest.

But inclement weather and illness can get in the way of that person-to-person contact.  When that happens, remember – behind that image, behind that opinion is a broken, fallible child of God.  Truly connect.

–SueBE

Most days, my morning starts with CBS This Morning. Last week, newscaster Gayle King interviewed actor Matthew Perry and put his whole life into a neat, yet negative, nutshell:

  • You had been on a hit show, Friends.
  • You’ve done other shows since and they have not been successful.
  • You had a serious drug addiction and struggled with fame.
  • You’re starring in a remake of the Odd Couple, which will be tough to make a hit, since the original show was iconic.
  • You’ve dated famous women through the years; those relationships didn’t work out. Who are you dating currently?

So she “bullet-pointed” his life, as if this is the sum total of who he is.

For a moment, his face registered real emotion – it seemed to be a combination of surprise, since his show will be on this same network, and hurt, since, like, he’s a human being. Recovering quickly, he went back into his regular actor-guy persona and dutifully recited talking points about his new show.

So often, we “bullet-point” our own lives, thinking the boxes containing our troubles really have anything to do with who we actually are.

Do we think of ourselves in this way:

  • Sick
  • Sad
  • Strapped
  • Struggling

Or in this way, which is the truth:

  • Cherished
  • Chosen
  • Child of God
  • Champion

God didn’t go through all this trouble – knitting you together in your mother’s womb, making you this quirky bundle of wonderful – so you could drag yourself through the day, barely holding on in life. Don’t think of your short-comings. Think of your long-goings, to coin a term. Think of the long game. Focus on what you want out of your life instead the pile of things distracting you.

So, next time somebody aims that bullet-point in your direction, set them straight. You can’t be put into a box or pegged by parentheses. You’re not an afterthought or an addendum. You’re an original, one-of-a-kind with fingerprints and forensics tracing your lineage to a Higher Authority.

Bullet-point that, world!

May you walk the world in peace, child.
No matter whose child you are.

Don’t be defined by the stagger in your step
or the stutter in your speech.

There’s no such thing as a misstep when you never walk alone.
No word is idle when your whole life is a prayer.

You are who you were created to be.
A one-of-a-kind gem in a rough-hewn setting.
The only thing left is the polishing.

Let the whole world stand against you, and still,
rest assured.
The path will unfold before you.

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