When I picked the boys up yesterday, my oldest couldn’t wait to tell me about some nightmare he had when he was seven (he turned eight last week). Since he’s usually the quiet one of the group, I let him tell it on the way home. It went on and on and on. There were zombies and mutant minions and locked jails and a whole lot of running. It was a spectacular story. It even had funny parts like him slipping on underwear in the bathroom two minutes in. I was mesmerized partly because, for once, he was the one dominating the conversation.
But boy oh boy it irritated the twins. The one seated next to him literally looked like he was about to blow. He held his breath and let it out slowly in big, dramatic sighs. Every time my oldest stopped to take a breath, he opened his mouth and then let out a low whine as the story continued. The other twin just feigned crying as he muttered repeatedly: “What about my dream? No one wants to listen to MY dream!”
I couldn’t help but be amused by the whole scenario. The twins, so used to being center stage, trying so hard to hold in their desire to share while their older brother stepped gingerly into the limelight.
It made me think – how often do I internally stomp my foot when others have the floor? When I have something to say, do I tune out those speaking while I anxiously await my moment? How often am I able to really listen and allow for others to have a chance to share their full story with me?
Amused as I was by the twins viseral reactions to their brother’s elaborate and time consuming story, it reminded me how often I do the same when my point of view, my story, my point to be made feels more important than another’s.
Today is an important day. As we move forward we will have many opportunities to choose to pause and listen or to stomp our feet and whine. We will have opportunities to choose to let another person’s story influence our view of the world or to believe that our story is the only one that matters. Which do you think will make for a better future ahead?
The time is now. May the Lord grace us with a wider lens with which to view the world as well as patience to allow everyone’s story to be told. Today marks opportunity. May we not waste it.