Under the Same Sun
A few years ago, I started listening to John Mayer’s Where The Light Is. Once I started, I didn’t stop. Seriously, about 75% of the time I was listening to music, I was listening to that album. That’s a long time to listen to one album. I’m still not exactly sure why I listened to just that album so much, but I did. Those two years weaved a lot of Mayer messages into my mind. Probably more than I realize, it shaped how I think. Maybe you didn’t know that about me. Now you do. Thanks for listening.
What I’m trying to get to is that we actually don’t know that much about each other. We don’t know what weaves through each other’s minds all day. We don’t really know most of the things that formed somebody else’s life. Because it’s their life.
I agree with Solomon writing into the pages of Ecclesiastes that, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Under the same sun, we both experience a completely different life. You and I. This means I don’t know what happened to you that shaped you into who you are. You don’t know what happened to me to make me the way I am. Maybe we’ll get to know each other, and we’ll know a little more about each other. Until then, here are a few things we can do while we share space under the same sun.
Ask. Don’t assume you have someone else figured out. Ask questions. Discover who you are talking to. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people over the past four years where they walked into the conversation with assumptions as to views that I held. I may live in a box, but it isn’t the box they put me in. God placed His eternal quality within every person you and I encounter. That means they stretch out into eternity. That is a lot of one person to get to know. Questions can help you understand. One of my friends told me this year, “I decided to start asking people questions that I would normally be afraid to ask. But those are the questions they actually want to talk about, and I’ve got quite a few closer friends because of it now. Besides, if they don’t want to answer the question, they say so.” This isn’t a license to be pushy. We do like to have someone get to know us when they are genuinely interested in us though.
Listen. Seriously, this is a great place to start. I think most arguments that get out of hand happen because we’re not listening to each other. Are you more interested in winning or understanding? (Yes, I’m speaking to myself on this one. Ouch.) If someone says, “You’re not listening to me”, that is a great place for you to say, “I’m really sorry. Would you share again what you were saying?” This shows that you care about them. What they think matters to you because they matter to you.
Consider. If I dismiss what you say, then you won’t feel valued by me. I know I don’t feel like my perspective is valued if it is quickly dismissed. You don’t have to agree. Right now, you don’t have to agree with me on this “consider” point. But if you don’t even take time to consider what I’m saying, then you have determined you are the holder of truth. You have arrived. If you consider what someone else says, then you might gain some truth in your life. Let’s say that what they’re saying is actually rubbish, that’s okay. You just gained insight into their heart. And future access. When you dismiss what someone says, they don’t feel valued or appreciated. They will not want to share their opinion with you in the future, because of how they feel about you.
Give. One of the things that plagues a lot of us is feeling like we aren’t very important at times is that we are waiting for someone to show us we are important. Imagine what would happen if every person decided to be a giver to five people in their life. Or just three. Heck, even one. A giver of time. A giver of encouragement. A giver of gifts. A giver of love. A giver of listening. A giver of adventure. Giving makes you happier than receiving anyway. Why? Because you get to pull off the caper.
This isn’t supposed to be a list of things to fix everyone’s life. This isn’t about that. This is about making the most of our time under the sun. These are all alot more exciting than watching tv for hours on end, and create more meaning than pinterest. These are for living life while you’re alive under the same sun.