The time has come again to plumb the Heart's depths and quit screwing around with the directives. Instead of offering an example of the heart centered actions that give us meaning, yesterday I gave you a list of things to do.
I have a friend that quickly corrected me, letting me know that it was "backsliding." I was not confronting the essence of the heart. I chose, instead, to describe the path to this path instead of leading the way.
Giving you things to do to strengthen the heart, instead of an example that shows you how, is a little like the difference between two doors. The first says, "HEAVEN" and the other says "LECTURE ABOUT HEAVEN." Everybody wants direction to the door, so they pick "lecture." Few want to follow the example of others that have opened the door and walked through.
What I'm about to tell you just happened. Risk doing stuff like this, partly because I just did it, but additionally because it is a part of the reality of life that makes things better.
I'm writing in a coffee shop. I get to quiet down in a nice place where there's a corner drink tea and compose (yes, my life is amazing.) Two kids, teenage girls, are talking about going to college and whether or not they should stay in the area or go away to school. I overheard them saying that "it would cost the same either way but I don't know."
So I picked up my phone.
I pretended that I was speaking to my granddaughter. I have grandchildren that my step kids have, one is 28 and the other is 19. I visualized one of them on the other line.
I said the following: "Sweetheart, you need to leave town and go to college. No, honey, not because I did it, because you'll never know how much other people are really like until you live, eat, and walk beside them. I left Chicago and went to Southern Illinois University, emphasis on the word "Southern." I loved Motown, they loved Elvis. (Long Pause) Honey, you will be introduced to people you'd never see at home, and this expands your empathy, patience, understanding, and acceptance of others that are just different than you." I went on to say things about food, topography, feeling, and just generalities that open you to a new world, even if that world is just five hours up the road.
The two girls stopped what they were saying and listened. As I "hung up" from my fake phone call, one girl said, "Thank you."
Being a good actor (we Irish are exceptional at this skill...but we in the McShane family call it "lying") I said, "I'm sorry? I'm not sure I understand."
Both went on to tell me that they overheard my conversation and now want to leave town to experience college "and the people outside of our comfort zones."
We had a nice conversation, and they spoke about their schools, their histories, their families and their lousy boyfriends. They left, and thanked me again.
Stretch out on a limb and show your heart for all its worth. I wanted them to know the other side of their possibilities that may have opened their eyes to something outside of themselves, their backyard, and their emotional myopia.
I could have said, "Excuse me, I was listening to your conversation and I have an opinion" and they would have likely thought "Old Man, we're not interested." Now they "accidentally" heard this perspective, lovingly but firmly asserted to my "grandchild" and their thoughts shifted.
I took a step into their lives. I went through Heaven's Door. They could've told gotten up, left me alone, or told me to be quiet. They didn't. They overheard my "conversation" and gained a little perspective.
Sometimes you just have to open the door of Heaven. You don't need instructions. You just go with your heart. Grab the handle, and pull.