I am the daughter of an engineer and I am a natural problem solver. I like the whole process of identifying a problem, researching possible solutions, exploring best practices, and then trying out the most promising options.
I love problem-solving! This enthusiasm serves me well in many areas of my life.
Not all, however.
People are not problems to be solved. I was reminded of this important truth listening to a recent episode of Kate Bowler’s podcast. This episode is a conversation with author Ann Patchett. It’s a remarkable conversation that you can access here. Patchett talks about how we really can’t change other people. What we can do is bear witness. What we can do is show up and listen and be open to the full story of who they are. When we do that for another person, it is holy work. When another person does that for us, we all grow closer to God.
Bowler ends the episode with a blessing for the ones who bear witness.
Blessed are the noticers, the ones who see the story in its fullest.
Blessed are the attenders, the witness bearers, the story holders, the ones who tiptoed to the edge right alongside us,
knowing that the very act will break their heart in pieces too, choosing you anyway.
Blessed are those who are amazed by a life lived in its fragility, in its brevity and its beauty.
Blessed are the ones who stand close enough to say:
Behold, behold, this is their love.
Behold, this is their silly hobby they probably should have given up on years ago.
Behold, these are the people they loved who know way too much at this point.
Behold are their quirky habits and favorite songs to belt in the car, and this is the marvel I get to know.
Behold, this is not a problem to be solved. This is a person to be loved.
And how lucky are we, these people, these loves, these precious, precious days. Thanks be to God.
Who bears witness to your life? Whose life did you/do you attend to?
-Written by Rev. Amy Miracle
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