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Him: What’s bothering you?

Me: Nothing.

Him:  Why do you keep sighing?

Me:  I’m not.

Him:  You are.

After both my husband and son had conversations very like the one above with me, I realized something.  I sigh when my asthma is bothering me.  Long before the coughing kicks in, I sigh as I try to breathe deeply.  Now I know to look out for it as an early warning sign.

It doesn’t matter if the problem you need to address has to do with yourself or with society, step one is listening.  Only then will we learn that a problem exists.

Complaints about an election can indicate that people feel disenfranchised.

Concerns about hunger often point toward a lack of social justice.

Worries about the legal system might mean that we need to check to see that Justice’s blindfold hasn’t slipped allowing her to judge more harshly against one population that another.

Listen.  Listen deeply.  Even if you first reaction is to deny that a problem exists.


“But that’s the way we’ve always done it.”  My husband and I laugh whenever we hear this.  Our theory is that most people don’t have very good memories.  If they’ve done something a certain way two or three times, it becomes how they have always done it.

But then again we also laugh when people comment on the “good old days.”  Yeah, life before running water and antibiotics was idyllic.  There’s a reason that all the women in those historic photos look like they are angry or exhausted.  “Take the photo.  Today is laundry day/baking day/help put up a new fence day.”

Joking aside, it is easy to get in a rut.  We try something to solve a problem.  It doesn’t work.  We try it again.  It still doesn’t work.  Unfortunately many of us keep trying the same thing or we just give up.  This problem can’t be solved!

I’d love to say that I always remember to ask for another opinion.  It is the smart thing to do.  After all, God has given us all gifts including how we think.  Not all of us think the same way.  That’s why it is important to ask for help.

That said it is important to remember.  When someone asks for advice, we need to listen.  We need to think.  We probably need to go beyond how we’ve always done it.  God has given us the tools we need to solve many a problem but we do have to remember to use them.





Have a Mary Little Christmas

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