Take a step back if you will…
Actually travel back in time to ponder a memory of receiving a great gift. Maybe you were a little kid. Maybe it was your last birthday. Was it last Christmas? When did you receive a great gift? And while we are at it, when was the last time you gave a great gift. The perfect gift for another. Thoughtful. The right price. It landed just how you hoped it would. Either of those are a great feeling, right? Go ahead, think back on it. And read on with that feeling in mind.
Do you remember the anticipation?
Having to stare at those presents wondering what was inside. The rule at my house of no shaking. Come on! I just want to know if its Lego! Just let them be and wait. Dang it. I don’t care how. I want it now!
What if we could give someone the PERFECT gift this year?
Are you leaned in? Are you listening yet? Here it is- What if, this year, you gave someone else the priceless gift of realizing they are doing the best they can with what they have.
Not what you expected, right?
What kind of gift is that anyway? Have you lost your mind? I can’t even wrap that up! But hang in there with me. Just give me a couple more minutes. This gift is a gift of grace. It is a gift of empathy. A gift of understanding.
Why do we need that kind of gift?
Because people are stretched thin. In many ways. Relationally. Economically. Mentally. Financially. Physically. In really every conceivable way we are stretched thin. Like J.R.R. Tolkien’s character, Bilbo Baggins, said-
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
We are thin. We are stretched. And it shows. We are somehow both empty and at the same time having a plate that is entirely too full. Crazy, right? But true! And the way we interact with others shows it. That snapback rude comment wasn’t really aimed at you. It came from a person that was already on the verge of snapping.
What if we extended grace?
And, at the same time, tried our best to make sure we aren’t the ones with the rude and snappy comebacks and ridiculous expectations. Because we are doing the best we can with what we have. I believe this to be true almost universally and I believe it more all the time. There are definitely some entitled jerks. But for the most part we are all doing our best.
So here is a quick list…
Of people who, I think, are trying to do their best with what they have.
- Your parents as you were growing up and they raised you
- The cashier at any store
- Your server- do you really think they want anything other than a great experience for you?
- Your barista- especially if you ordered a coffee that has 17 extra changes
- Customer service representative that you call
- Gate agents at the airport. Believe me. They want you on that plane as much as you want to be there
- Uber Driver
- Patient in your chair
- Scheduler anywhere you call to make an appointment
- Relatives. This is a HUGE one to remember before the holidays- and yes. There are exceptions. But remember this.
- The comparative cousin
- Our leaders- companies, pastors, elected leaders, etc.
- Every other person I did not mention- I am doing the best I can with what I have
Could we make this year a little different?
We are all humans. Complicated humans. We all have stuff in our lives. And much if that stuff boils over this time of year. What if we loved others the way we want to be loved? And what if we saw ourselves as worthy of love in the process. If we see us as worth loving, we will be more likely to love others and understand that they, in fact, are doing the best they can with what they have.
This is a tough time of year!
And if you are struggling with how to stare down next year and don’t have a plan of attack, reach out. I would love to have a conversation! Let’s work together to help you #WINtheNOW in 2024!