A Bit of Heart, Not Mind
Rector Chris Girata's latest article in the Katy Trail Weekly
In my last column, I wrote about optimism. I am an eternally optimistic person (which often annoys my friends when they simply need a moment to wallow). Optimism is a deep mental and emotional state, and although it might seem so on the surface, it’s not shallow. Optimism goes beyond happy to a deeper sense of joy and connection to the world and it’s a good habit I think we should all practice more often.I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that over the last 20 years or so, people have begun to have too many opinions. Our culture has shifted heavily towards consumerism. The old retail adage, “the customer is always right,” has pervaded everything in our lives. We expect to get what we want, when we want it. Patience, forgiveness and humility are virtues that have become far too uncommon, but I think we should change that.
I saw a quote the other day: “Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart, rather than a piece of our mind.” That hit me right in the face. As a church leader, I hear opinions constantly. It seems like most people have opinions about how things can be improved, how things used to be or a general concern about how they didn’t get what they expected. Churches, like any other groups in our life, are small communities, and in communities, people feel ownership of every aspect of our life together.
What I am witnessing in our world goes well beyond a sense of community. I can hardly visit a public place without overhearing someone complaining about something. And whenever we have an experience that doesn’t meet every bit of our expectations, rather than understanding that the world is not perfect (and people certainly aren’t!), we all seem to need to make our opinions known. In all fairness, most of the time the people making complaints are technically right, but when did we forget that we are all in this life together?
Consider the last time you reached out to someone offering you a service. I expect that most people don’t give the service people around us a second thought, and that leads to our experience with others to be nothing but transactionary. In a macro sense, we have begun treating the people who assist us like the goods and services they provide, rather than the people they are.
We are better than that. I believe we are made for more than the life we see in front of us. We were created to be good, to be loving and to spread joy in the world. When you check out at the grocery store, get your car washed, or eat at a restaurant, do you know the person’s name that is assisting you? I find that saying their name, asking about their day in more than a cursory way, and being interested in who they are as a person creates instant care and compassion. When that happens, we begin to share a bit of our hearts, and when we share a bit of our hearts, we will be less likely to share a piece of our minds.
This week, pay attention to how others are behaving around you, and especially how you are behaving towards others. I am optimistic about our future because I see the good in people every day. Perhaps this week, you can spread some optimism, some joy and some hope yourself. And all it takes is a little bit of heart.
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