On Friday I spoke to a man who had lost 2 children in a fire that ate up his home and all his possessions.
I remember meeting him a few years ago right after the fire had occured.
I was working in the cellular industry and because of the fire, his insurance had to replace his cellphone - that's where I came in. So he came into our store to get his new phone and I remember that there were complications and he was quite rude and disruptive. I did not know his story. I mean, I saw the bandages on his arms (where he tried to rescue his boy) and I saw the red rimmed eyes, but I looked past all of that, thinking "What on earth is this mans PROBLEM?! How DARE he speak to ME that way!"
Later on I learnt about the fire and felt the empathy towards his situation.
How often do we do this?
We don't know someone else's story or their pain or what they had to deal with earlier today, but yet we begin to tell ourselves that we are OWED a certain level of treatment and bugger the next person who does not give us that respect!
How do we, as human beings, learn to put ourselves and expectations aside?
We're deep in an era where everything is about me me me!
There is a culture of utter SELF-ishness and the scary thing is that it has become the norm and our children are being programmed to put themselves first. We teach our kids that sharing is caring but in the same breathe, we teach them that they have to be better, look better and achieve more than the other kids. What about OTHERS?
Now I am not talking about giving the homeless kid on the corner your old shoes. Those are very nice things to do for other people. I am talking about emotional awareness. How emotionally aware are you raising your kids to be? I ask myself the question: How emotionally aware am I? Do I consider the next person?
I am currently the mom of a teenager and boy is it tough!
One of the biggest challenges I am find is to make him more aware of other people and their emotions/feelings/situations.
Being sensitive to another person means showing care and love and hey, this is what our non negotiable purpose is on earth.
We were not created for US.
We were created for God and for Him to use us in other peoples lives.
The rest of the stuff are fabulous perks.
Anyways, cut back to the customer and the fire.
So it's years later and he brings up the fire and what he lost in the fire.
I was a bit shocked, because I thought the topic to be taboo and a painful one at that, so I did not want to mention it.
But here he is, sitting and telling my colleague all about it, not missing a detail.
He then goes on to say that it was a difficult time but he pushed through it and that God has been so good to him since then.
He lists all the blessings he has in his life, including a beautiful daughter.
He ends it with saying "God is GOOD!"
I looked at this man and thought WOW.
I sure can learn a thing or 2 from him!
Not only did he feel it okay to remember the fire, but instead of sowing seeds of sadness and regret, he uses the opportunity to spark the faith of others - to sow seeds of encouragement!
This got me thinking:
What am I sowing with my mouth when I speak to people?
Maybe you've faced something in your life that felt like a devastating fire.
Something that left a wreckage and a hole so big that it feels like it cannot be fixed.
But I can promise you that in God all things end up for your GOOD.
He does not end things on a negative.
I don't know about you but today I will take the opportunity to allow God to heal the scars of my "fires" and to show me how He will turn it around for GOOD.
I will choose to look back at the times of devastation and instead of wallowing in sadness in regret, I will celebrate how far I've come and how much I still have to look forward to.