What Ails Thee?

I don’t think the world needs any more people who have all the answers. I don’t think the world needs any more people ready to jump up with a “here’s what YOU need to do – to make the world a better place, to make me happier, to save the planet, to save your soul.” I don’t think the world needs any more self-appointed critics, all too eager to pick apart each situation, each person around them. We have plenty of all of the above, and as far as I can tell, they haven’t helped much. In the midst of all our fixing, we’ve forgotten how to love. In the midst of all our talking, we’ve forgotten how to listen. Or maybe our hearts and ears have just grown tired, I’m not sure which it is.

Instead, I think the world needs more people willing to admit to the possibility that they don’t know all the answers. Willing to admit that they might need other people. Willing to be vulnerable with those around them. Willing to admit they also have needs, and brave and compassionate enough to ask about the needs of others – that is, if they’re truly willing to try to help meet those needs in whatever way they present – because when you ask that question, you don’t know what answer will come. We have to let go of our desire to control. And we also need to realize that when we ask that question, the other person can feel whether or not we really mean it, and will often answer accordingly – something real, or the pat answer we may have been hoping for – “Nothing, I’m fine.” I think the world needs more people who, in the presence of the Fisher King, slow down, very, very slow, may even stop, or at least pause for a second, and look the person across from you deep in the eye, heart to heart, whether it’s another human being or yourself in the mirror and ask those fateful words: What ails thee?

To be willing to try to authentically answer that question if someone asks it of us. To be willing to hear and witness the answers of others. To “hold the world in arms grown strong with love,” as Brian Andreas so beautifully put it.

I could be wrong, ’cause I don’t have all the answers either, and this is just my opinion. But lately I’ve seen situation after situation in which it feels like this would have been a more helpful approach. Heart after bleeding, broken, bruised heart that simply needs someone to care enough to slow down, to ask, to listen – to act like each person cares, to act like each person matters.

Again, it’s just a thought. As I ask you to consider this possibility, may I be willing to put it to work in my own life as well.
(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, including the one to keep asking questions.


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