I began the day with the intent of taking a meaningful picture. I wanted to take a picture of a tree. Or something like nature.
Well here I am, at 11:15am and I am taking a picture of my desk again. Maybe every picture from now on will be of my desk. How many different angles can I get?
As for the lessons of today, I remain consistently unimpressed by my ability to offer something meaningful to a crowd. I am not getting better at engaging with groups of people. I am getting worse. Is this a bad thing? Well, yes, because it leads everyone to either think that I am upset or uninterested.
In a group, I am either watching the group or talking to one person.
Conversation is an art that two engage in. Three or four can do it, but they have to have similar intentions.
Observation is an art that only one plays.
I have become somewhat lax even with my conversation skills. There is an imbalance between things that interest me and my desire not to talk, but to listen. Both extremes pull me and I am left not asking any questions of the other person. And this, I have always found, is selfish. There is no conversation without questions.
But it is not just a preference, it is an inability. I am increasingly unable to even ask interesting questions of the other person.
Speaking of preference, I increasingly dislike being in a group of people. It is not that it stresses me out. I do not like them.
This is not confession hour. I am not confessing a sin when I say this (am I, secretly?). I am not saying it out of guilt or shame. I am saying it, because it is true.
I am growing in my gratitude for thoughtfulness. The “great sin” to me in high school was dishonesty and reputation grooming. Now, I can hardly stand thoughtlessness. But let us stay on the positive side.
Something that makes me fall over in gratitude is when a friend of mine tells me that he is concerned for another friend. He has noticed him and wonders if he is doing alright. This is remarkably vague and it is only an example.
Something that makes me fall over in gratitude is when a friend focuses all of his attention on me. For no reason – it seems – he goes out of his way to speak to me, to ask me how I am doing. It makes me smile and to be honest, it almost makes me laugh; that someone would step out of the group and talk to me.
There has been talk of love languages recently and the one that makes the most sense for me is gifts. I could explain how this is not, in fact, materialistic. Here is the short of it: a well-placed gift affirms to me that the person knows what my direction and passions are, to what I am oriented. A poorly-placed gift does the opposite. This goes far deeper than “what is your passion”. It goes to the core of who we are as creatures; we are makers and enjoyers of creations.
While it is generally true that my love language is gifts – for now – I think love is most strongly communicated to me when a person forgets himself. When I see someone that is, for a moment, entirely selfless, who is willing to put all of their private opinions, annoyances, grievances, preferences, worries, and strengths to the side for the sake of raising up a brother through himself- that is love!
Love is the farthest away to me when someone is unwilling or unable to set aside his ambitions or weaknesses or strengths for the sake of another. His private desires are a cloud that do not depart from his eyes.
Some Scripture here would be appropriate; deem others more significant than yourself. When I see one person do that for another person, I see love.
When I see hidden motives behind thoughtfulness, I see hate.
When I see a lack of interest behind “provoking” questions, I see hate.
Maybe all of this is both a condemnation and approval of my current relationship with groups. I will leave that analysis to someone else. For now, I remain looking for that one person on the outside of the group who needs a person to talk to.