While I was in the snow/sick lockdown, I was watching movies to pass the time. If you have never seen “The War” starring Kevin Costner, I highly recommend it! It’s about a father home from Vietnam trying to teach his kids how to leave the world a better place. His son has just been cornered and ganged up on by a (poverty stricken, motherless) family of kids. This father takes cotton candy intended for the boy’s mom and sister, and gives it to 2 of the kids who had just been involved in the fight. His son questions why he gave it to the kids who had just been beating him up. The father responds “Because they look like they haven’t been given anything in a very long time”.
Because they look like they haven’t been given anything in a very long time
WOW. *cue the tears* To see beyond the anger, the mean words, the bad attitudes. To see hearts that were yearning for love and attention.
As an adult, I encounter unkind people on a regular basis. I encounter those struggling with addiction. Those without a home. Those who seem content to spew discontent on everyone who gets near. My completely natural response is to pull back. From the ugly, from the dirty, from anyone who brings discord to my orderly life. Is that your response too?
But when I take the time (have you noticed a common theme from us? Taking time. To see. To love. To share. To teach. To learn.) to pause and consider them as a person in their own right, not in regards to how they affect me, I see something different.
I see someone who has a hole in their heart that maybe has encountered so much rejection that to protect themselves they hide behind anger and ugly words. I see someone who was once a sweet child that found themselves in over their head and now are an adult drowning in bad decisions and mistakes. I see someone who, for whatever reason, has nowhere to call home, no safe place to rest their head and be refreshed by the comfort of loved ones.
What allows me to see all of that is The Pause. Before judging. Before reacting or responding. I pause. Just that moment of allowing my heart to open and consider why this person in front of me is the way they are.
But wait a minute! I’m not going to be a doormat for everyone with a sob story!
And you absolutely shouldn’t be! Having established boundaries in your life is so important to ensure you don’t end up in over your head. Having compassion is to show understanding and kindness. It doesn’t mean enabling or allowing someone to do whatever they want.
We have guests in our shop who come from all walks of life. Each person is greeted the same way, we want all to feel welcome. But if someone is being disruptive or unkind, they are kindly asked to adjust the behavior. It doesn’t mean we are angry with them or that we want them there any less, it just means we have boundaries. So definitely don’t take what we are saying to mean you have to tolerate being treated any way someone feels like treating you.
Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if everyone was like the dad in the movie, taking a moment to pause and truly see? To choose an act of kindness over anger and retribution? Fellow Rustic Girls, Let’s be the change.