Straight and simple, we all lead layered lives.
There’s the life we lead in public. The life we present to the majority of the people that know us. In short, our Facebook life. The majority of the time it’s a filtered life of highlights, funny moments, celebrations, shared causes, and occasionally a request for good thoughts or prayers.
Which brings us to the layers beneath that public life, the layers we so often mask over or try to hide…..our concerns and our trials, our misconceptions, the deepest hurts harbored in our hearts, the crosses we carry.
Therein lies the real truth of who we are and what makes us.
Years ago I ran across this quote, one that has become quite popular on social media.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
It speaks volumes for how we might choose to live our lives. Which bring me to my faith and the message I’ve heard for several weeks now….one of love, kindness, mercy and forgiveness. All of those words get a lot of “airplay” but how often do we consciously carry them out in all the aspects of our layered lives?
Do we treat the clerk at Starbucks who seems distracted and messes up our order with understanding? When we get frustrated with a call center employee who can’t solve our technical problem quickly, do we stop to think about what kind of political reality they might be living in their country? When someone cuts us off in traffic do we consider, even for a moment, the possibility that the driver has just come from a hospital with devastating news or has just received a phone call that has altered their reality.
What I’ve heard in church and from what I’ve seen in my own layered life is that if I keep God in the center of all those layers, if I don’t crowd him out of my life because of the layers, I make my little corner of the world a better place for He never fails to remind me that although I am but one person, I can make a difference.
Even if that difference is just one smile or one kind word that reaches into and soothes a troubled layer.
And so, when those layers get loud, chaotic and troubling, this is one of the places I go to find my peace and this is where I’m reminded that yes, even though each of us at times, is fighting a battle of some kind, whether small or of epic proportions, there is a message to be heard. All I have to do is come here in order to soften the cacophony and allow myself to listen.
This is where I force myself to be quiet, to peel back all the layers and rediscover what is important.