Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting our of ruts

With two of the book events finished, I look back on the evenings to see what I've learned. People generally want to know how many books I sold. While that's important and the main reason for the presentation,there's another important issue. For me it's all about the people I've met and what they taught me with their questions.

At the last event, one woman asked me if I'd read Nelson Mandela's autobiography. I had not. Her question made me wonder why not. I hadn't been avoiding it, but neither had I pursued buying it. Her other questions, especially the most persistent remarks made me reflect carefully on what she was saying. My mental review occurred days later and made me buy Mandela's books.

Not long after this exchange, a good friend made a comment about my reaction to a church situation. It too made me stop and think. The outcome of my mental meanderings, from both conversations, showed me how I'd backed myself into some restrictive corners and that outlook was reflected in my behavior. Locked in this mindset for a few years, I would have never figured out what I'd done to myself had it not been for these two people.

I used to get very annoyed with my mother for the way she labeled people. Her expectations of any interaction with them was governed by her preconceived notions. I often wondered what would happen if the person she was talking to suddenly changed. Would my mother accept the 'new' person? How like my mother I'd become.

There's a story of women in the New Testament whose lives are changed by the encounter with Jesus - the woman who bled, the Samaritan woman, the bent over woman, and more. We know what happened when they met Jesus, but I've always wondered how their family, their neighbors and the community received them the next day. Could everyone change the way they treated these women?

We have many similar situations today of the drug addict to starts over, people released from prison who try to make it on their own, recovering alcoholics and others. Can we relate to these people in new ways? I wonder how much our limited attitudes are a factor in recidivism?

So what am I doing about my mental corners? I'm trying to break out. I'm reading Nelson Mandela's autobiography. I'm also engaging with a church group in a different way.

Stay tuned and Happy New Year!

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