Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Speak Easy


Yesterday we spent the better part of the day at Walt Disney World as we do a few times a month. Annual passes afford such opportunity and we maximize the value as often as possible. Though, may i recommend late fall and winter as alternative seasons to the "full melt" of September in Florida. I'm now once again reminded that people, in general, stink. No, really. I'm confident that all of man's years of deodorant and anti-prespirant research know-how cannot tap into God's perfect plan of designing man to smell like shrimp and diapers. For maximum goodness, add pouring sweat, huddle together in large crowds, and bake at 93 degrees for 8 hours. Serve with Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream on a stick. Voila! But I digress.....

People. I'm learning to love them. It's been quite a process, but I'm still working on it. This leads me to the heart of the story....

Lauren and I were waiting on Rachel and Moriah to finish up on Astro Orbiter when the guest next to me began to ask me about our park experience on that ride. What I quickly realized is that she merely wanted to use that question as a springboard to tell me about her experience in the park today..."Oh we've ridden everything there is here; Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, we've been on pretty much everything here. We come to Disney at least once a year, so we know all about it."

Recently, Rachel told me of a challenge she heard of from a friend. The challenge: only speak about yourself to others when they ask. Otherwise, continue to ask questions about them and their situation, only referencing your experiences when asked. This practical practice of selflessness is something I actually attempt frequently, but I'm not so good at it. It's hard! 

What I said to the guest: "That's great, so where are you headed to next?"

What I wanted to say: "Really? Well I've been here about 65 times in the last two years and prior to that I worked as a singer in this very park for three years, so, please, don't try to 'big league' me with your Disney park experience - you're way out of your league, dear." 

Okay, so it's not like I was angry. I realize it may have come across that way. But my point is that I had all this information and really wanted to spew it out. But it was unnecessary. It would only serve to make me feel good for a few, brief moments and prove that I didn't give a rip about my fellow guest or care to make her feel important enough to genuinely engage in two-way conversation. That was hard.

So why the struggles? Why care? I mean, who did she think she was? Why care? Jesus said there were two truths that were the most important. Love God and love others. These truths, especially the loving others part, have been a tough process for me over many years. And can I tell you, I've made progress! But yesterday's inner dialogue is a reminder that I've got work to do. 

A good friend of mine describes this as the opposite of love: self-love. Now that's a hard truth for me to swallow sometimes.

So I put this challenge before you as well: only speak about yourself to others when they ask. Otherwise, continue to ask questions about them and their situation, only referencing your experiences when asked. Try it for a day, a week. I'd love to hear about what you learn.

Keep cool my babies...

Mike

1 comment:

Travis Greene said...

Yeah, it's real hard to actually listen and have a conversation with someone. It seems like we're trained to use the time somebody else talks as our opportunity to plan the perfect thing to say. Or if we're having a debate or discussion, I'd rather try to come up with a good rebuttal than actually listen to the other person has to say.