3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life? (and, I want to add, that probably applies to most other relationships as well)
I found myself thinking about this.
Especially as Chinese New Year approaches, and we are given time with our family and extended family--for better or for worse.
Be all there.
--as Jim Elliott said; Wherever you are, be all there.
This is a whole lot more challenging than it sounds, though it may be just three words.
In this world of multi-tasking, it is so hard to focus. So hard to just listen and do--nothing else.
Nowadays when we listen to music we have a music video to watch, or the miles whizzing by through the windows of a subway; or a dinner to cook, or laundry to fold, or a street that we're crossing, the white paint stripes flashing underfoot like the traffic light above our heads. Going somewhere while we listen, or doing something while we listen, watching something while we listen.
And when we talk, our conversations are often haunted by little ghosts. I mean the ghosts that live in our jeans pockets and hover in our hands and appear with a little ghostly aura of light, to float between us and our friends or transmit their ghostly aura to our faces.
(yes, smart phones)
Talking about Chinese New Year, I gather nowadays it's a common experience to have the ghosts invade your reunion dinner. Sitting around the coffee table and all its glorious spread of new year snacks and tidbits, relatives who haven't seen each other in months if not since the last reunion, you peer doubtfully at each other over lattice work pineapple tart faces and the red lids of love letter tins. A thin trickle of shallow conversation, which easily loses to the cracking of peanut shells and rustle of wrappers. And then out pops one ghost, soon followed by another, and then a whole family of ghosts have their reunion, hovering comfortably around the coffee table.
Unfortunately the ghosts get their reunion more than once a year; we summon them up almost every day. Even our own family or close friends, whom we can't possibly plead shy of talking to, often appear to us through that white glow, and we process their words at the same time as we like a post, scroll expertly down our Instagram feeds, or pin another cute guinea pig photo (guilty as charged.)
We are so skilled at keeping within our comfort zones, and such expert multi-taskers, that we seldom give 100% when we talk or listen.
This is a problem that probably can apply to different types of relationships, but easily to family--because sometimes they're so close we take them for granted--or because sometimes, we don't know them as well as our relationship would suggest.
This year, be all there. Leave the ghosts in your pockets for once.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
ALL IMAGES FROM PINTEREST UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. THANKS, PINTEREST!