“I see clearly that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”
A couple of months ago, I got into a little disagreement with a good friend. It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who has read these posts or experienced me in person that I am a raging extrovert and that my number one ongoing growth opportunity is to temper my emotions. With a little maturity and some help from our CLI resources, I have gotten better about embracing one of our oldest mantras to “stop, breathe, challenge, and choose.” That is, except in the unfiltered conversations with my spouse on our walks around the neighborhood. Then, my mantra might appear more as “firehose Tricia with every bit of feeling you have and let her piece it together.” Lucky lady right?
As I sucked up all the air in our neighborhood during one particular walk, sharing with my wife about the exchange with my friend, Tricia was her normal calm, patient self, asking good questions, and trying to help me let my thoughts catch up with my words. As my monologue continued, I became annoyed that she was not matching my outrage. “Don’t you care?” I demanded to know. “I need to hear your reactions!” I continued. “No Dan, that’s what you want. You don’t need any more emotion,” she replied.
I stopped in my tracks. Of course, as usual, Tricia was right. As I slowed down and the conversation became more two-sided, I was grateful to have a partner in life who knows what I really need. Later that evening, I began to wonder how I accompany people in my life and leadership in that same way. Do I give them what I believe they want or what I truly believe they need? Can I walk that fine line of being authentically present without intentionally, or unintentionally, ratcheting up their worst instinctive behaviors? Am I the type of friend and fellow disciple who not only meets someone’s need in the moment, but also points them to God’s desire for their future? It’s easy to pile on. It’s so much harder to pull back. In my prayerful walks with God, am I asking him to fulfill my needs or my wants?
Thankfully with a calmer heart and a focus on the bigger picture, I was able to resolve the hurt with my friend. As we journey through this week together, let’s pray that we can be people who seek to meet people’s needs and God’s wants.