BEING AWED BY ONE ANOTHER by Rector Chris Girata
BEING AWED BY ONE ANOTHER was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, December 18, 2020
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
Holiday gatherings — especially with extended family — are notoriously painful. Countless versions of “the difficult family Christmas experience” have been told on the large and small screens, and to good effect. We all know that navigating family holiday gatherings are treacherous in the best of times, and 2020 is not the best of times. So how do we proceed? I believe we have the opportunity to be caring and thoughtful this year, perhaps in a remarkably vulnerable way, that might be very good for us.
We all know how good people are at creating their proper personas. We all like to look a little better than normal when we go out, to have our house a little cleaner than normal when company comes over and perhaps exaggerate to our friends about just how well we’re doing. It’s normal and we’re only human. But when we are tired, stressed and raw, those personas begin to crack. Cracks are good because they let the light in. Perhaps this year, we can stop fighting the cracks forming all around us and actually get real.
This year, instead of trying to just get through family gatherings, what if we approached one another with awe?
This year, instead of trying to just get through family gatherings, what if we approached one another with awe? C.S. Lewis once wrote that humanity is amazing and that each person has infinite possibilities. “It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.”
We are each a treasure trove of ideas and hopes and dreams. Perhaps there are layers of life hiding the essence, but that’s where the cracks become helpful. This year has been exhausting and each of us are less able to create the masks that have defined us in one way or the other. Instead, we have a unique opportunity to dig deeply into who we truly are, what motivates and delights us, and ultimately, what inspires the awe. In other words, perhaps this year, we can connect in new, life-giving ways.
The cracks give us a unique opportunity, but those cracks have come at great expense. 2020 has been painful for everyone. We can wallow in the pain or we can welcome the pain as a way of connecting with those around us. This year, I invite you to be courageous and allow people to see you for the awe-inspiring, beautiful human you are. And I invite you to see those around you as equally awesome.
This year, I invite you to be courageous and allow people to see you for the awe-inspiring, beautiful human you are.
The world needs us to do more. We need to do more than tolerate and respect one another. We need to dig deep, be honest and be vulnerable. We need to be willing to understand the very roots of our disagreements if we ever hope to find solutions. Ultimately, we need to see one another with truth in order to love.
At Christmas, we are called to be more polite, more cheerful and more patient. This year don’t waste your time being shallow, but instead, care enough about the people in your life to see them in their pain, while allowing them to see you in yours. We’ve been cracked open in this crummy year, so why not let the light in?
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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