You might have noticed, I’ve been looking at a few old photos lately. It’s because I’ve been in dreaded contact with Apple Support, trying to figure out why my phone and computer are acting wonky and completely cramping my style. It turns out that I’m a hoarder. I have over 40,000 photos on my phone and 150GB of mail on my little laptop. (Those devices are working hard to stay alive at all.) So I’m sure with a few more fun calls, we will get that handled.
In the meantime, you’re the beneficiary of my little stroll down memory lane.
This one was in 2014. We’d pulled up to Noah’s favorite sushi place to grab some dinner, only to remember it didn’t open until 5. As we were waiting in the parking lot, we decided to get out and say hello to the longhorns, that just so happened to be grazing in the field between the parking lot and the highway, right on the line between Plano and Frisco. Now, let me insert that growing up in Oklahoma, we had horses and cows, and they were friendly.
Longhorns? Not so much.
As soon as we neared the fence to with our hands outstretched, and our “Come here boys, come say hi” Texas hospitality, they decided to charge full force at the barbed wire fence. Suddenly terrified, I yanked the boys back to the street and we stood there watching, a little stunned, as they stomped the ground, kicked up dust, and grunted their angry longhorn snorts, that don’t sound like cows at all! Clearly we were in their personal space and they weren’t having it. Mean old longhorns.
Reflecting back on that moment, I guess I’d be grouchy too.
These selfish humans are wrecking my home, making me graze in a field filled with the noise of honking horns and air that’s almost pure exhaust fumes. . . and then they want to come say “Hi”? And try to pet me? I think not.
Four years later, the longhorns are no longer there.
There’s now something like a 6 level rotating car vending machine standing almost exactly in the place that longhorn is standing. Concrete covers the field. I don’t know where they are now, but hindsight is 20/20. It’s certainly more clear now why they didn’t want to say “hi”. It doesn’t make that moment any less scary in our memories.
But it changes the story.
Empathy writes a new ending. We learned about the power and possible dangers of longhorns that day. In retrospect, we can learn more about their situation, and notice their plight in our rapidly changing Texas landscape.
No matter who you are, animal or human, you have noise in your head that is working against you to block the intimacy you crave.
This portion of Seth Godin’s blog from this morning says it so beautifully:
“That noise in our head is selfish, afraid and angry. That noise is self-satisfied, self-important and certain. That noise pushes intimacy away and will do anything it can to degrade those that might challenge us.
But, against all odds, empathy is possible.
It’s possible to amplify those too-quiet signals that others send us and to practice imagining, even for a moment, what it might be like to have their noise instead of our noise.”
Empathy is possible.
You don’t have to charge, stomp, and kick up dust when someone nears your personal space. Others might be pushing you out, but here’s a chance this one is here to care for you.
Pay attention to the quiet signals.
Practice replacing the negative noise, that is pushing away intimacy, with love and empathy.
to more love,
(This is exactly the kind of thing we practice at our monthly GNO. Join us!)