Do I know you?

Do I know you?

It’s impossible not to love a person if you know their story.

Fred Rogers

 

This past weekend there were so many life lessons to be learned.  Our good friend, journalist and author of I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers, Tim Madigan did an amazing job of articulating the meaning in his relationship with Fred Rogers.  Several times during Tim’s talks to the groups he came to our area to speak to, we quickly grabbed a pen to jot down one of the many timeless truths that Mr. Rogers shared with the world during his life.  One of the statements that we resonated with the most, which we heard Tim use to great impact, was the one above,

 

It’s impossible not to love a person if you know their story.

 

Since we first heard that statement it has caused us to do a lot of reflecting on all of our relationships and the people we love.   That reflection reminds us again and again of the absolute importance of really listening, intently listening, to one another.

 

Once we intentionally take the time to listen and enter into, with purpose, another person’s life and story, it truly does become much more difficult not to understand them better.  When we truly listen we can begin to resonate with them, become more patient with them, empathize with them and love them, more.   Once we learn of someone else’s pain, of their brokenness, of their sorrows, of their disappointments, of their losses of their insecurities, of their vulnerabilities, and of their experiences, we gain incredible insights into who they are and to why they respond in the ways they do.  And when we gain those insights we being to have more and more grace for them.   But it takes a lot of purpose, a lot of resolve, to do that.  We have to ask questions of others.  Not threatening questions that cause defensiveness on another’s part.   But questions from the heart that are meant to illuminate and create a closer bond between two lives.

 

Think of the people in your lives, especially those whom you really like, really love.  Don’t you have more patience and sympathy for them because you know about the challenges they have faced or do face in life?

 

Think about those who have tended to rub you the wrong way.  Even though you have struggled with someone, when you begin to ask certain questions, don’t you almost always feel somewhat more patient with them, more connected, more caring?   Questions such as these:

 

Where did they come from?  Why did they respond that way?  What in their past or even their present is causing them to be critical or short-tempered or offensive?   How has their history made an impact on their outlook and viewpoint?

 

So very often, in the revealing of the answers to these kinds of questions, we find ourselves lowering our defensives, raising our levels of compassion and appreciating, at least a little more, who someone else is.

 

 

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