A few Sunday's ago my pastor told a story about a little boy that comes up to him every Sunday to give him a high five. A couple weeks ago the little boy, who is always beaming walks up, head hung and not only refuses to give him a high five... he won't even look up from the floor. Pastor asks, "What's going on?" The mom doesn't know.
Emotions are the dashboard of the heart. They warn us that something is going on inside, whether it’s the joy of being in love or crushing pain of a deep hurt. What do you do when a light comes on? I think most of us simply wipe the dust off the dashboard, especially if the emotions are not pleasant ones, and call it dealt with. How often do we take the time to look under the hood to find out what is really going on? In ourselves or in others?
We do not get excited about jumping into anything that doesn’t make us feel good.
Fast forward a week or two... my dashboard was completely lit up with engine trouble. The problem wasn't new. The drill was familiar. Something triggers the hurt. Emotions flare. React. Find a quick way to get over it and get everything back to status quo as quickly as possible. And that's what we do. I began to realize that perhaps I am still stuck in this hurt because I've never let myself uncover and expose its source without trying to immediately cover it right back up and believe its fixed.
Why? Why can we let ourselves hurt and deal with the real pain of it so we can move on. No more "Stop it. Get over it. Change your attitude. Everything will be okay. I’ll pray for you." Why don't we say, "That's a lot to deal with. Cry if you need to. What is really behind this anger and I'll be here to listen no matter how long it takes."
I am beginning to understand these things. We walk through the waters of life - sometimes cool and refreshing, other times rocky and storm tossed. Hurt and pain... they are like the rip current underneath. When it comes up and grabs you, the best thing to do is swim right next to it down the beach a little ways until its gone. But too often we don't. We struggle and fight, almost drown just to get back to the spot on the shore that just pulled us under. We might be okay there for a little while, but that current... it's comes right back and pulls out to sea again.
It's not easy on our own – in fact I think it’s impossible. We need each other - to laugh, to cry, to listen, and to love. Sometimes we need more. We need to learn to read our dashboards and it will help us read each other’s. To ask hard questions and be willing to wait for and hear the hard answers...here is where deep healing takes place. The place where the critical wound is exposed and you touch it with strength and love.
What does your dashboard say today? What about those around you? Do you see a light on that maybe you can take a look at with that person? And ask them to open up and find the problem?
So then... remember the sad little boy?
The following week the little boy, all smiles again, bounces up to Pastor smacks him one great high five. Pastor asked mom, "So, did you ever find out what was wrong last week?"
"Oh yeah. He was upset because he didn't get the doughnut he wanted."
Sometimes all you have to do is ask.