Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Today we issue the final Kaleid neighbor-loving, intentional-listening challenge to ourselves, and it’s the simplest one yet.
Does your head get full? We women are masters of listening to what’s between our ears while we do other things. We hear our inner dialogue, our next to-dos, a rehashing of yesterday’s conversation or a rehearsal for tomorrow's presentation. All while driving or shopping or conference calling or even reading a book to a child. It’s quite a feat!
This listening to our inner world can prevent us from seeing those around us.
So today’s challenge is simple. It’s the challenge of intentionally quieting our inner chatter so that we can see other people as real and respond in kind, as opposed to seeing them as obstacles to dodge in a grocery aisle, for example. (Of course we know that none of us really do this type of dodging in the grocery story, but we could see how some people might be tempted to do this, sometimes, if they’re really busy, and preoccupied…)
As we see the other person, we can reach out to them with a small point of connection and dignity. This poem says it beautifully:
By Danusha Laméris
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
When we follow Jesus, loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, we take time to look, listen, and speak in ways that dignify the other. So this week, we invite you to rekindle “tribe and fire” by engaging in meaningful, brief moments of exchange. Even just stopping to pick up someone else’s lemons.
We’re happy to be human with you lovely ladies. Have a fantastic Wednesday!
The Kaleid Team
P.S. If you want to listen to a great sermon on the Rich Man and Lazarus, which echoes with this idea of seeing the other and taking time to listen, enjoy this masterpiece by Ashley Mathews of Trinity in Atlanta.