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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Gift No One Asks For But Everyone Wants

Lessons Learned

Always In Season

Bridges connect east to west, uptown to downtown, north to south, city to city, and because of these bridges, we can easily cross one side to the other.  This is significant. Our cities today are under siege from a desperation, a loneliness, a despair that originates in hopelessness and chronic dysfunction and culminates in a fear-wrapped paralysis that can no longer see possibility. Our families today are under siege from a materialistic world that paints a spectacular mirage of how successful life ought to look, despite the fact that the closer one steps toward that lie, the more one horrifically realizes that it is not there.  So the pace is quickened, the dial on the treadmill is turned exponentially up, blinders are donned in hopes that faster and more focused can conjure OZ. It cannot. We wallow in the frustration of our delusion and live angrily because what the world tells us we want, we cannot have. Our schools today are under siege from a bureaucratic system so heavily laden with infinite, infernal paperwork, that the attempted fulfillment of our metrics obsession which is theoretically designed to enhance individualized instruction, does in fact consume an inordinate amount of prime, meaningful, relational, teachable time, leaving our students more stressed with little to no academic gain.  Our lives are under siege so we build walls and live alone. We give up.  We strike out at those around us and weep quietly in the darkness.  This is all wrong. Our lives are designed to be lived relationally, in community, sharing hearts and gifts and hope one life to another. Our hands are designed for reaching and helping not hoarding and hiding. We need each other. We need more bridges. Bridges to connect east to west, uptown to downtown, north to south, heart to heart in our cities, our families, our schools, and every aspect of our lives. Within our mirrored walls we see only ourselves and, truth be told, we do not like what we see. It’s selfish. We need us. We need bridges. We need to look out, reach out, for then we will find out that in serving and caring and connecting, we ourselves are blessed. We all fully know that a far deeper satisfaction is felt in giving a gift than in receiving a gift. The thing is, each life is packed with gifts, heart gifts that cost nothing to give yet mean everything to receive. The gifts of time, of compassion, of gentleness, of listening, of smiling, of helping, of patience, of generosity, of forgiveness, of willingness, of mercy; these gifts and so many like them cost little to nothing but have the strength and power to change a life, to balm a wound, to heal a pain, to offer hope. These gifts are bridges, the bridges needed by our cities, our families, our schools, and by all of us. As giving a gift is always in season, perhaps this season we need to consider the gift of a bridge.