Shake it off?

My friend, may I ask you a question? It’s tempting to stand and counter others when others attempt to bury us with their opinions. Is there a better way however though?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

Like anyone else, conflict isn’t something I look forward to. Recently I went out to dinner with some old friends and their spouses, friends I hadn’t in some cases seen in years. It wasn’t long until table talk turned from remembrance and sharing family news to politics. It wasn’t a subject that Holly and I wanted to talk about since we knew it was likely the other couples felt one way and we were alone left to feel another. Opinions these days are strong and the animus that accompanies one view over another is unique, I believe, to these times. I find that oddly contradictory since I remember well the days of the Vietnam War protests decades ago, thinking then how could it get worse? It has. Politics today have sunk to a new and more angry level. People seem to long for an opportunity to express their level of political frustration even at risk of offending. I walked away from the dinner with the hairs on the back of my neck bristling. I felt creepy, almost like crawling into a hole. But as Holly and I drove home we shook it off and vowed we had done the right thing by not engaging in our minority view. Friendships are more important and will always remain so.

It’s tempting to stand and counter when others bury us with their opinions. Is there a better way however?

Here’s a story: A man had a donkey. One day, the donkey fell into an old abandoned well. Its owner finally noticed it was missing and went to the neighbors and enlisted their help. They searched everywhere. It was then that one of the men looked down into the well and saw the donkey. Unable to lift the animal out, one man suggested that they fill the well in with dirt so as to prevent the same tragedy from befalling others. Although they felt bad, the men took turns shoveling the dirt. Once the first shovel of dirt hit the donkey, the animal found renewed energy. It brayed loudly. Then it happened. The donkey realized that the dirt was a gift. With each scoop of dirt that fell into the well, the donkey shook off any that landed on it and then took a step up onto the top of the pile of dirt forming at the bottom of the well. The men kept shoveling; certain that they were burying the poor donkey. After much shoveling, the men were quite surprised to see the donkey, looking right straight at them. It was standing on top of all that dirt that had been dropped on it. (Al Batt)

Holly and I endured a bit of a verbal barrage despite the fact we had opinions to counter what was being offered to us as truth; we felt it better to put friendships first. Later I reminded Holly of the donkey in the well. If you’ve ever suffered frustration because of what you believe, think about that donkey. The more others tried to bury him, the more he used their aims to climb, giving him reason to move up and not fall down. In the end I believe the donkey greeted its master with appreciation, not animus. When we’re willing to do the right thing at the expense of our opinions, we can expect to feel an onerous level of frustration. In fact, the Bible tells us that we WILL be thus frustrated. But, we will only need to endure wrong opinions of us for a short time. As others may try to bury us with their idea of what is true, we can smile, shake ourselves off and keep climbing upward. All opinions eventually tire and our aim in the end is to be standing with a smile and not buried with a frown.

We pray. Heavenly Father, it is difficult Lord when I am buried by the opinions of others with which I don’t agree. It is so tempting to speak and not listen when someone else has a point of view I find significantly different than mine. But, Father, I know full well that listening is so much better than speaking. Forgive me when I am tempted to express the truth in a way that is retaliatory, especially with those who are my friends. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

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God bless you for Jesus sake.

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