Give enough attention to a person that you see the spark of the Divine.
In the film Dune, there is this near impenetrable energy barrier that protects bases and individuals from harm. I don’t know exactly how this fictional shield works but it has something to do with the velocity of incoming weapons. Fire a bullet and the ammo bounces off, throw a stone, and watch as it drops to the ground. The shield repels any high velocity ammunition and makes conventional range weapons useless. The only way through the shield is to take your time and pass through slowly. In one way I think these shields are clever metaphors for the relational barriers people put up. You don’t get to know someone well by barraging them with questions, you must take your time.
How can a person get to know another without taking the time? Even knowing someone for years can reap little reward if you don’t make use of the time. Our interactions can be as intimate as a smile or as piercing as an eye-roll. This seems to get at one of the big life questions, for whom do you make the time? I am hard pressed to think of many greater questions than this. For every person that enters your life there is an opportunity to increase or decrease your estimation of their value. It might only be a minute, but in those seconds, you make the decision about what they deserve. Which leads me to the phrase above. How much of your time should you give someone, as much as it takes for you to be a witness to their divine spark. Give them enough time that you see the God who made them.
Several years ago, I met a couple. I meant the wife first and then the husband later. First impressions being what they are I made the mistake of making a judgment about the couple prematurely. Childishly I thought they were going to be an obstacle to my own goals. Here is a spiritual tip, people are never the problem, our battle is not with flesh and blood. When you see people as the problem it’s a red flag that you’ve miss-estimated the value of others. You’ve judged some as more worthy and others as less so. I learned my lesson eventually. Overtime I gave more of my time to the couple and realized that I had missed how lovely they both were. I was like an owner of a field who put the property up for sale before realizing the treasure that was buried in the yard. I eventually grew to see them both as my brother and sister. I regret the time I spent discounting their value, and I cherish the moment I realized it and gained new friends.
Imagine how your ideas about a person might be transformed if you decided to give enough attention that you discover a person’s unique spark of the Divine. As Peter wrote, “love covers over a multitude of sins.” We also rescue ourselves from the gloomy pits of isolation when a relationship is tended instead of neglected. Strangers may become cherished friends because of how you give them your time.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)
Find the spark my friends!
Happy New Year,