Saturday, October 27, 2018

What do you see?

What would it be like to look at all sides of a person at one time? To see them—really see them—for who they are in every intricate way? Maybe a little frightening? Maybe disturbing? Perhaps, we’d find ourselves in them.

 When our tour guide at our local art center pointed out that this Picasso displayed all sides of the face at once, I finally understood the painter who I had only seen from one perspective before. 

I wonder if we all have a little bit of each other made up in our whole. The same fears, rejections, perspectives, loves. Have you ever walked through a group of people, and at first glance you see complete opposite traits as you? Maybe the way they dress, or act, or speak? If we could see all sides of a person at once, maybe those differences would fade to the background of our likenesses? After all, each one of us is created in the image of God.

And as a fiction author it resonates with me greatly. I love plunging deep in my characters, and exploring every side of their perspectives, wants, needs. My goal is to give the reader a portrait where they can find themselves, to give them an avenue of empathy, and a trace of truth in the made-up world.

 Thank you, Mr. Picasso, for this visual. While some of the little girls in our group said it was weird, (and I thought the same at first), I now understand that, for myself, I need to try and remember that all of us have different sides—but in each of our God-given makeups, there is some of the same.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Is Kindness a buzz word?

Today, this mama held her baby girl as she spoke through her tears, sharing with me the meanness someone threw at her. If I gave into my initial reaction, I'd tell her to fight back, to say the next mean thing. And then I'd start playing in my head what I would complain about to the appropriate adults-in-charge.

Let's just thank God that I demanded the mama bear back in the cave before taking hold of THAT mentality.

What I told my girl, though, was to stand up for herself in a different way. What I told her was to stand firm in kindness. Show the mean kid something different. Be kind, even to them. Kindness is the only way.

Doubt always creeps in at these moments while mama bear is forced away, and I wondered what was the downfall of teaching my daughter to be completely counter human-instinctual? Maybe not in this situation, but what about bigger situations? Am I teaching her to be passive to a fault? Would her being kind come at the risk of ignoring strength? Do I run the chance of making her soft, sensitive, easily broken by meanness? Am I teaching her to forgo being tough and resilient?

Is kindness really the holy space I've come to learn as a Christ follower, or is it a cowering, a cop out?

Even after tears and heartbreak, the daughter smiled and readied for school knowing she is loved, she is kind, and who she IS, counts more than what people tell her.

I see the daughter whose favorite word is "LOVE", who craves friendship and people and love. Who is ever happy to be beside her old friends, and who is always willing to make a new friend. I see her kindness as her greatest strength, and I know her spirit is strong in love.

No, kindness is not a buzzword. Kindness IS tough. Kindness is bold. It's passing up the fleshy garbage of broken people, and pouring out love regardless. It's a fine shield for a strong spirit.

Kindness is Love.

And I guess, after all my struggles and fails as a mom, I will once again, cast off the mama-bear instinct and step into a surprising posture of victory. Because, whatever the world says, whatever the hatred shows, I know one thing I'll get right as a mother--my kids will know that kindness wins. Can't wait to see the paths they'll pave ahead.