The sun was bright, the first cool fall air-filled my lungs, marking the end of summer was near. I grabbed my bag lunch and walked down to the beach and sat on a rock. The sun danced on the lake as if it was speaking to me. My thoughts raced through my head which is some days cluttered with too many details and no order. I was reflective as I sat on the rock listening to the water crashing below, the seagulls over head, and the perfect silence of the fresh air-cooled by the water.
I was pensive of the past and the future. I was thinking that we get so caught up in foreshadowing the future that we forget to live in the presence. The next 45 minutes of my lunch my intension was to be present.
As part of my life, I talk and relate with many people. One particular person stands out in my mind that I crossed paths a few weeks ago while I was traveling. As we pressed into conversations about life, healing, relationships, self-awareness and spirituality, his insights challenged me to think in a different way.
I am a professor, but in this context I was the student. I guess if we are honest, sometimes we are all “students of life”. This young man intrigued me, mostly because of his depth as a human being emotionally and spiritually. In his mid-twenties he spoke as though he had lived on this earth for 4 or 5 decades. The candor of his opinions, his humor and humility all highlighted his massive sensitivity for others. While he spoke of his struggle with selfishness, the more I understood him the less I believed this was true. In fact he was the exact opposite of selfish, and instead extremely benevolent.
In therapy we use a term called radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is about being accepting of life on life’s terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is. This concept means understanding life, listening to feelings, being accepting unconditionally without judging someone. While this is a science, there is certainly an art to this type of unconditional acceptance. It takes practice in order to put someone else before yourself and your own needs.
In the bible, Ephesians 4: 2-3, it says; “With humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The opposite of humility is pride and if we refuse to forgive someone when God has forgiven us, this shows that we are not humble. There is a failure to understand that we have been forgiven exponentially more than we will ever forgive someone else.
The marriage of these points view come together as a parallel to describe my observation of this man. His insecurity, pensiveness and self-deprecating comments are clearly his own misinterpretation. This was not the person I saw at all. Instead the person I met was, funny, humble and compassionate. He spoke of his inability to lead yet in our discussions he challenged my thoughts, emotions and beliefs. He is immediately accepting while challenging the ways of the world. He speaks with grace while leading with his heart, validating the genuineness of who he has become. An outstanding man of God, who anyone would be proud to call their friend.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Break the Silence.”