I sat with a dear friend over lunch this week, catching up on life – the trials and the triumphs. We talked about everything from teenage angst to movie making. It just so happens that she and her husband have a most interesting “hobby.” They make films. They don’t have a Hollywood budget, but they turn out films with humor and heart that are influential in their own right. My friend writes the screenplays and directs; her husband films and edits everything. Their last film was purchased and distributed beyond being viewed in churches across the country. You can even catch it on television from time to time. They are remarkable folks, and I admire their approach to life which is pretty much… “Why not?!”
As we chatted over messy but delicious burgers there was a moment in our conversation that arrested me. It was one of those moments when you feel like a great light has flooded the room and suddenly you see everything more clearly. She shared a truth that is so deeply planted in my heart that I wanted to remind you of it as well. As you can imagine, the job of casting and organizing a filming schedule for a movie is enormous. Last time I was at her house, my friend had her casting board out with all the parts and actors who had been cast. Now listen, I have trouble keeping a husband, two daughters, and a dog sorted. You can imagine what it would be like to manage a whole movie cast and all their personal schedules.
I knew that while most of the parts had been cast rather easily, some parts, like the male lead, had been much more challenging. They needed a handsome “20 something” guy to play an up and coming attorney. It was a role that required some specific qualities particularly that he was the right age and personality type to carry the role. It is usually true for most of us that we can tend to see ourselves a little more glamorously than we actually are. We attribute to ourselves qualities and abilities that are flattering, if a bit exaggerated. It is not uncommon for someone to think that they can play a part that maybe they are not really best suited for. I mean, this is America and we tend to have no trouble in the self-esteem department. The problem is we don’t always have the talent we think we have. Have you seen the first few episodes of American Idol?? Exactly!
As it goes, my friend had someone wanting to play the male lead – the problem was he was nowhere near “20 something” and he just didn’t fit the part. She tried to tactfully share with him that while she appreciated his desire and ambition, he just didn’t fit this particular role. She assigned him a different part that was a good fit; the problem was that he kept pressing. He continued to offer himself and pursue her on the lead to the point that it was feeling awkward. She did not want to hurt him, but it just wasn’t going to work. Yet he wouldn’t let up. Irritation became frustration. Why couldn’t he see that this was not a good fit? It was acutely obvious to her and should have been to him. It was becoming a source of aggravation until… as she was going through his bio she read the rest of his story.
The man’s history revealed that he had a medical condition that would cause him to have trouble discerning things. He had endured multiple brain surgeries and must have suffered so much in his life. My friend looked at me with the most honest face I have ever seen. She said to me, “That changed everything.” Suddenly, she knew the rest of the story. In that moment she understood; compassion overtook frustration. Her heart shifted.
I deeply appreciate this quote from the Chicago Tribune, 1965, “Most of us are acutely aware of our own struggles and we are preoccupied with our own problems. We sympathize with ourselves because we see our own difficulties so clearly. But Ian MacLaren noted wisely, “Let us be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.”
How often do we fail to see the warriors around us? How many times do we jump to conclusions about people having no idea what their story is? This week, I was reminded again that we know nothing until we know where someone has come from, what they have been through. Who is that person that aggravates you? Do you know why they behave the way they do? Maybe they carry a war wound that pains them daily. Maybe they have a hole right through them that makes them react when anyone gets too close.
This is a simple reminder that it is Goodness to take into account that others are much like you. They have blind spots, bad habits, immaturity, and wounds that ache – because we have all fought hard battles. We have all been wounded. We all need a little extra grace. Decide to pour out some Goodness on someone this week. See if you can assuage the pain of a fellow soldier by listening to their story and caring for their heart. A little Goodness goes a long way in healing the wounds we all know too well.
If this post resonates with you, please share it and help Goodness grow! Thank you.
There are walking wounded all around you. Show some extra Goodness to people - we are all fighting hard battles.