Jul 302012
 

On Thursday morning, Chase and I returned from a mommy/ son overnight date. It was really a let’s get the hell away from the girls who will never ever, ever stop fighting date. It was awesome. We  played and talked and talked and talked. We splurged on donuts for breakfast and snuggled in bed at night and woke up early for walks on the beach and dolphin sightings. I got to say yes, yes, yes instead of no, no, no all day. We dreamed up a book we’re going to write together. It was perfect. It kind of made me wish I could raise my kids one at a time.

 

Exhausted and happy, we boarded the plane for the flight home. Since I just had Chase- no girls- I was envisioning a relaxing, blissful flight.  I would not be breaking up fights or crawling around on the cabin floor trying to find tiny plastic toys the size of my fingernail that someone who really, really hates parents created. It was just Chase and me, happy and relaxed after our trip, ready to curl up with our brand new books.

But the Universe decided that I had had quite enough relaxing, thank you very much.

I wedged myself in the seat next to an older, furious, panicked man who was having trouble sending an email. He was huffing, puffing, moaning, and cursing. He was making all the noises that beg the person next to you to say, “what’s wrong?” But I didn’t say “what’s wrong?” No way, Jose. All I could do was think about how this man’s state of being was a lesson to me. Nothing that can be done over a computer is worth that much angst and stress. Unless one is trying to reach a dying friend, one should not allow a two hour loss of technology to work him up that way. Not healthy. This man’s level of stress was so high that I could FEEL it radiating off of him. Killing my vacay buzz.  I wanted none of it. I kept leaning closer and closer to Chase’s side until half of my body was in his seat. What are you doing? Chase said. I just love you, I responded. He gave me his “I’m practicing to be a teenager” eye roll.

The man finally shut his laptop. Then he started taking huge, deep breaths. Loud, angry, breaths. But his deep breaths were interrupted by deep, repetitive coughs. Smoker coughs. Loud, jarring coughs that wracked his whole body. I tried to discreetly cover my face with my Monkee sweat shirt.  By now I was basically sitting IN Chase’s lap.

We take off. I start reading.

And he starts.

He starts talking to me, in monologue form, and it is clear right away that he plans to get a few things off of his croupy chest. To me. He is grizzly. He is angry. He is, how shall we say…not my type. Something tells me to close my book and listen anyway.  I resent that Something. But I do. I close my book and look at my new teacher and listen.

This man talked for a full hour before I spoke at all. During this hour I learned that he was a small company owner on his way to DC to tell his employees that he was moving his headquarters out of the country because, according to him, the Obama administration’s new rules had made it impossible for him to stay in the US.

Then, during the next hour, He talked about the poor in sweeping generalizations. He discussed any sort of service program workers or supporters as foolish enablers. He repeated the word fools twenty times. He proclaimed all non-profits to be corrupt money grubbers who hire hookers and buy drugs with donations. He said that liberals would be the ruin of our country. He talked more about his own company, and how liberals hated him and were always trying to put him a box and make him the bad guy. He explained that he’d fight his way out of that box any way he had to. He was a fighter, he said. He spoke loudly and peppered his sentences with curse words.

As God is my witness, I am not making any of this up. Every single thing he said was something that makes my fists clench and heart want to jump out of my throat and onto my lap. Even my beloved Mitchum stopped working. But something told me to stay open. Ride this out. I kept listening.

 

Once Chase leaned over and said, “Why are you arguing?”

Our new friend said, “Son, we’re not arguing, we’re just stating very different opinions in a tense way.” (I still hadn’t said a word.)

“Isn’t that the definition of arguing?” Chase said.

I shot him my best, “I’ve got this and respect your elders even when they think differently than anyone you’ve ever met” look.

 

I took inward deep breaths and shot a twitter prayer up to the G-O-D.

Not subtle with this one, huh? What am I supposed to do with this? Politics? Politics? There are two things I avoid like the plague- politics and real ticks.

Then in the back of my head, I hear. “It has been said to love your friends. But don’t even jerks do that? I say – Love your enemies and those who think differently than you.”

Daaaaaamnnnniiiiiiiittttttt.

In the middle of describing various tax codes he looked at me and said, “Are you following me, here?”

I said, Well, I’m a writer, so I’m not familiar with a lot of this, but I think I’m with you. I’m learning as you talk.

He said, “Oh, a writer. I tried that road once. I tried to do nothing, because my doctor and wife told me I was going to die if I didn’t slow down. So I stopped working and sat on the couch all day. But how much Jerry Springer can you watch, right?”

Right. Well, maybe your doctor didn’t mean for you to go from 100 to 0. Maybe she just wanted you to cruise at 50. Also, as a writer, I don’t do nothing. But you’re right, I have found a way to live without so much stress.

Right, right, that’s not what I meant,” he said.

I know, I said. Stay open, the Something said. Stay open. Ride this out.

At one point the man took a breath, looked sideways at me and said, “You’re a liberal, aren’t you.”

I said, I try not to label myself, because I don’t want to shut down conversations. Right now I’m just a person trying to understand you.

“Oh you’re definitely a liberal,” he said.

When he started back in on non-profits and how they were all money grubbing thieves, I said, You know, I run a group like a non-profit, and we give back 100 percent of what we raise. No overhead. We all work for free.

He raised his eyebrow and didn’t respond for a minute.

He looked out the airplane window. He was remembering something. His tirade stopped. His voice changed a little.

Then he turned back and said, “I haven’t given a penny away for fifteen years. I used to. Every Christmas I used to buy ten turkeys and deliver them to the homeless shelter myself.  But I don’t do that anymore. I don’t give anything away anymore.”

What changed? I said.

He looked out the window again and I thought- HERE we go. HERE we go- here comes the real stuff. Here politics die and the person behind them introduces himself.

Scruffy angry man said, “When my daughter was little, we left a candle burning in our house and the whole house burned down. With all of our things. We had nothing. We lived in our car for seven months with our daughter and no one reached out to help us. Not our neighbors, not our families, friends. Not even our church. No one.”

God. That must have been awful.

“It was. But I eventually found work and I pulled us out of there on my own.”

That’s amazing. Still. Don’t you wish someone had reached out to you?

“Well, they didn’t.”

I know, but doesn’t a part of you really wish they had?

“No. We’re fine. I pulled us out of there and I turned out perfectly fine.”

Here is where I couldn’t help but stop the conversation and give scruffy angry man my face. I can’t describe it so here it is. I used to be able to appear much more skeptical but you know, all the Botox.

 

“What??” He said defensively. Then he laughed.  ”What?”

You’re perfectly fine? Not a teeny bit hard hearted, friend?

Scruffy man laughed again. Hard this time. Hard enough that his whole body shook again. Thank you. baby Jesus, I thought.

“Maybe a little,” he said,  “Maybe a little.”

I walked through this heavenly door of laughter and I told him that I was glad he’d told me his story. I told him that I usually did lean to the left and so I didn’t often have a chance to hear the stories of folks on the other side. I told him I understood a lot of where he was coming from, and I do. Being a small business owner, from my friend Tim’s point of view, is a very tough gig these days, and maybe always.

“I’m not a bad guy.They are always making me out to be a bad guy. I’m not.”

I know, I said. I’m one of the “theys,” most days, and I don’t think you’re a bad guy.

Then I asked if he’d do me a favor. I told him that I’d keep his story in my head and heart if he’d consider changing one teeny part of the way he spoke. The alls. The mosts. I told him the generalizations were killing me. All the poor, Most of the non-profits, all the democrats, every single liberal.  It discredits you a little, I said. Weakens your arguments.

Then I told him about the poor people who were the parents of the kids at the school where I taught. How many of them worked 24 hours straight and then came into my classroom, blurry-eyed, to hear about the children for whom they’d sacrificed everything.

Illegals? He said.

No, friend. Or maybe so. But do you understand what I’m saying? We can’t say all or most. We just can’t.

He nodded. “I hear you. I’ll stop saying all. But I might stick with most.”

Okay, I said. A compromise. I love compromises.

Then he said, “Give me the name of your non-profit. I’ll look it up.”

I squealed and clapped like a seal. He rolled his eyes and stuck his finger down his throat like he was gagging. But it was definitely an affectionate gag.

As I wrote our website on his work folder,  I told him about our Love Flash Mobs. About how we send money to hurting people to let them know we care.

He said, “Why the hell do you send them money? Why money?”

It’s not about the money. It’s about what the money represents-  love, care for a stranger, sacrifice.

More gagging. “How much you send them?”

Last time we raised 80 thousand dollars in six hours. All kinds of people gave. Conservatives, liberals. People like you. Actually, I don’t know if there are any other people like you.

Laughter and huge eyes. “80k? And you gave it all away??

 Yep. I know.

“Well, if it’s not about the money, you should just send them a card. Have all your “people” sign it and send a goddamn card. I’ll even give you $2.50 for the card. I wouldnta done that before this conversation, I’ll tell you that. I don’t get you, but the world needs people like you and your monks or whatever the hell you call them.”

I looked at him and said - I wish we were around when you were stuck in your car.

“Well you weren’t, and we were fine.”

 I know, I still wish though.

“Yeah.”

Then I went in for the love kill.

Look at us, friend. We did it. We made it through two hours. I learned a little about you, you learned a little about me. The rightiest and the leftiest. Maybe in the whole WORLD. We didn’t yell, You taught me a lot.

“You taught me a little.”

I’ll take it. Tim, can I get a picture?

“No. hell no. You’re just gonna put it on that Mama’s Tree of yours.”

True. That’s what I was going to do. Well let me at least shoot this, so I can prove this really happened. That the rightest right man and the leftyist left girl sat together on a plane and said all of our things and learned from each other. And made friends.

 

Tim said – “I’ve never made friends with a goddamn liberal before.”

I am proud to be your first goddamn liberal friend, Tim. And I want you to know that I can see how upset you are about your company, and this upcoming meeting, and the country, and I’m rooting for you.  Just treat them like people, not issues, Tim. And you must start sleeping more. And you gotta quit smoking, Tim. We’ve gotta take you down 6 million notches.

“I know. You’re right,” he said.”Good luck with your book and all of  your giving people’s hard earned money away.”

Thank you Tim, I appreciate it.

“Write down your book’s name too. I’m going to order it as soon as it comes out.”

Thank you, Tim. I hope you like it.

And then we HUGGED. We HUGGED.

 

On the cab ride home I thought: our world views usually come from the world we’ve experienced, not from the goodness of our hearts. If you’ve experienced the world as loving and generous – that is how you will live, in abundance. But if you’ve experienced the world as uncaring and cold, then it only makes sense that you will continue to live with that world view.

It’s really why we need to take care of each other. Listen to each other. Undig our heels. Surprise each other. We really do.

 

Tim- thank you for teaching me so much. You are in my prayers. For real. Not just saying that.

Love and Peace,

Glennon- the goddamn liberal from Mama’s Tree



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  235 Responses to “Progress”

  1. […] the root issue involves fear. Also insecurity, sadness, hurt. All manifest themselves in anger. (Glennon nailed this […]

  2. […] mean get all up in someone’s face and yell, but what about a gentle approach, like Glennon at Momastery did? She got her point across by telling her truth without creating more […]

  3. I am sure that everything you have stated will certainly pierce the ears of one’s readers and make them think more deeply about this

  4. This one is my favorite post.

  5. [...] see each other as humans first, do something unexpected that peels back a layer of baggage. Like in this story from Momastery – I love how Glennon wrestles (philosophically) with herself and the jerk [...]

  6. Newbie here to, and I’m gonna learn a lot, I can already tell you Mommas that! Even though I’m not a mom, I feel God put me on this earth to help out moms who need a break, who are nearing their breaking point, who just need some “me” time – and I love every minute of it. It’s a win-win for everyone, as far as I’m concerned (OK, more so for me since I can sleep 8 hrs uninterrupted!). I love the patience & openness you showed to Tim, and I truly hope he shows up here at your blog to see all of the good/comments that are being generated from it. I’m heading over now to donate to your Monkey See group – I cannot think of a more worthy cause to which to donate. You are on my permanent list now. You’re fueling my spirit, my soul, my mind, my heart to go out every day and make just one small difference, show one small kindness to someone else, and for that I am thankful!

  7. Dear Tim,
    No one should have to pull themselves out of hardship alone, that just isn’t how life is meant to be lived. I am sorry that you had to do that, that you and your family were so alone and isolated. I wish that I had been there. I know you turned out fine, but perhaps you could have turned out full of joy and awe to be part of a loving world…if only you had been shown the loving world. It really is there, I’ve seen it! I hope Glennon showed you a glimpse of it, and that someday you will see the full scope of how beautiful humanity can really be. We are rooting for you!

  8. [...] [6] If you want to read a beautiful story about “showing up” even when you don’t feel like it, I commend to you this lovely blog post by Glennon Melton: http://momastery.com/blog/2012/07/30/progress/ [...]

  9. *sigh* On so many levels, this grabbed me. My father passed three years ago, today. He was the staunchest Conservative you would ever meet. He was quasi famous for his rants and letters to the Editor. Ironically, that same (equally or moreso liberal) editor left the paper after 15 years for a different city. In his final column, he had bulleted three acknowledgements of gratitude. The third was gratitude for my late father, who always spoke his truth. We are ALL more alike than different. To remember WE ARE ONE is a daily exercise. I could feel you on this plane ride and suspect his heart will soften as a result. Love is the answer :)

  10. I love this. You were placed there for a reason. I truly believe that. It is the same with my Dad. He has so many heroic stories because I think God knows he can trust him. He saved a baby that was drowning in a pool, he pulled a teenager from his car after he had been hit by a TRAIN, he will not pass a person on the street that needs help. No telling how many tires he has changed, people he has given rides to, people he has given money to just because he lives to help others. He gives like you. He has taught me so much – the first thing being that you always give more than you can take. And not to hold on to your ‘stuff’ so tightly – let it go and it comes back to bless you. And it always does. I am so glad to know that there are people like you and my dad out there. I am doing my best to live the same way! Love to you and yours, Glennon. By the way, you have a gorgeous family.

  11. I love this story. Isn’t it amazing the doors God sometimes opens. Glad you were in a situation to help someone. Blessings to you. I read the next post and I will be praying for your health and His wisdom and peace.

  12. I am so impressed with how you engaged with this man, G. How you sat there listening to his negative rant, and you remained open-hearted the whole time. You’ve inspired me today to try, try, try to do the same when I’m dealing with people who are in a different place than me. I believe you changed Tim’s life that day. I truly do. He will remember you, your conversation, our little Mama’s Tree here, and hopefully your book when it publishes. He may not agree with what we’re doing here, but he will take it in, process it, let it simmer, and just sit in it for a while. And then maybe just a teeny tine change will start to happen in his heart.

  13. Thank you Glennon – this was just what I needed to hear. It was funny and poignant – I wish I had read it a few years ago before I lost a rightie friend because of being a leftie who didn’t listen.

  14. As usual, the usual story of the common angry man is turned into a victory of love. I adore you and what you represent for humanity. You give me faith that there are basic, empathetic people out there who really care.

  15. I read your fabulous post right before we left for a family vacation -20 people in one house in Minnesota for a week. The week was fun, crazy, chaotic, exhausting! We had a 4 hour drive to the airport before our flight home. I get motion sick and wasn’t feeling so fabulous before the flight. My daughter and I sat next to a woman who I didn’t really have the energy to engage with even though she was trying to make small talk. Finally, 3/4 of the way through the flight I thought of your post, made direct eye contact and noticed she was sewing/lacing these intricate, beautiful little butterflies with thread. I asked her about them and she told me how she had just attended a convention on this lost art- very few people still practice this art of this lace work. Of course, she shared one with my daughter which she adores. We also found out we have a community in common. Her father was from Chautauqua, NY. We stay at a Chautauqua community in IL every summer. Without your post I don’t know if I would have engaged and had such a wonderful/connected conversation with this woman from San Diego- it was a lovely gift. Thank you for helping make the world a better place :)

  16. [...] momastery  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  17. a.ma.zing. i am inspired by your level of patience. your ability to will yourself to stay open. beautiful.

  18. What a precious picture of you and your little man! I am still thinking about how sweet you two had a get away.

    Everything else you wrote about is simply inspirational!!

  19. love, love, love this.

  20. Thanks, Glennon. I needed this today.

  21. The “haters” ARE already in concentration camps. I gave up hating years ago. Not hating groups of people, but hating situations, hormones, flaws, family members (especially the ones that I expected to “fix” me during my times of need). My single act of giving up hating was actually the day I became a Christian. I had been born and raised in the church, but truly became a deciple of Christ when I consciously refused to hate forever. As a reformed hater, I can clearly see the “concentration camp” that smotheres one in most hateful moments. I felt torchured, alone, desperate, helpless, and infected with a poison that I could not escape. I have no doubt that it has similar internal effects over all haters of the world. Even when we hate as a reflex or defence mechanism, the toxins are present, consuming, and truly unholy. Whether you believe in God or not, Jesus was not a figment of the imagination and He was the greatest example of how to not only live in LOVE, but to reject HATE and its poisonous snairs. Without labeling the entire character of a person, one can easily spot the disease called HATE that can creap into people and really make a mess of things.

  22. You make me laugh, cry and think…..think very hard! xo

  23. Thank u so much for sharing. I can relate on so many levels, even though I am not a mom. You rule!

  24. Love!

  25. Glorious, Glennon! One baby step at a time. A few years ago I learned the lesson of “looking at him with curiosity” when someone wages a one-person war. They see and hear the nearby explosion and eventually figure out that they’re only killing themselves.
    Listening works. Love, Cookie, the GL
    ps. glad you had such quality time with Chase as well! xo

  26. I have to admit I’m in so much turmoil over this post. I fall to the right but because I believe in a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand out’, because I believe in convincing people to believe in themselves instead of infantalizing them or telling them they are a victim-I’m labelled a ‘hater’. I understand there are extremes on both sides of the aisle and most of the time they dominate the “conversation” (and I use that word very loosely!), but I find myself not saying anything. I haven’t reached ‘Tim’ level but by continuing to be labelled, I find it hard to want to listen…or even participate. Thank you Glennon for reminding me stay present and mindful, to turn the other cheek and respond with love. Your son has an amazing role model. XO.

    • Stephanie, I couldn’t agree more! Beautifully said!

    • I could have written this myself. I have been completely checked out of politics because it seems to have degenerated into two groups of people calling each other horrible names. Why bother saying anything if you’re shut down before you can even open your mouth? I have been coming to realize, though, how badly the discussion needs moderate voices, and how many are really out there. Ironically, the Chick Fil A issue seems to be bringing out a lot of voices who are deeply troubled by the labels, namecalling, and general “all or nothing” nature of the atmosphere. Maybe it’s time for us calm, quiet, moderate types to come out of our hiding places and help bridge the divide.

  27. [...] patience than I do. She tells the story of an interaction with an angry man on a plane in “Progress,” and it is just awesome. He said, “Oh, a writer. I tried that road once. I tried to do [...]

  28. Loved this story. It was a real challenge, and so pertinent in the light of the Chick-fil-a hoopla.

    I loved your perseverance here – thank you.

  29. Thank you. Thank you. Tim and his company are in my prayers now, too, right beside you and your family.

  30. Fascinating. When I was in 3rd grade my house burnt down late one night. Completely. (fireworks from the teenagers across the street) We were all in the house and we all got out. Anyway, that night we stayed with friends who were also neighbors, who insisted we stay as long as we wanted. And the next morning, there were bags and bags of clothes, toys and toiletries on the concrete slab that used to be our doorstep. My elementary school PTA took up a collection to help us get back on our feet and buy all those daily essentials. My teachers took extra care with me, and gave me time to act a little strange for a while without being punished or feeling “wierd.” Though I was only 8 years old, this outpouring of support and love has stayed with me my whole life. Though it often seems old fashioned to those around me, I am the one who always brings food or little time savers to the sick or to new parents, to help in those little ways that don’t take a lot of effort (how long does it take to throw together a baked ziti?!) but means all the world to the recipients, because its one less thing to worry about when they are in crisis. I was fascinated how, at least in these two cases, me and your new friend, our experiences shaped our outlook.

  31. Wow this was an amazing story. I definitely give you credit for sitting there and being open minded. There should be more people out there like you.

  32. I had to read this one twice….then again with my husband after I asked him to read it so we could talk about it. It was beautiful. It stayed with us for days. We kept talking about it every chance we got.

    That, my friend, is how you start a love revolution. It starts in the heart!

    It brought one of my favorite quotes to mind ( from The Power of One): Little defeat big when little is smart, first with the head, then with the heart.

  33. I am blurry-tear-eyed at work. Why can’t all people be this way to each other, agree to disagree and maybe nudge them a little, have conversations even when we really do not want to. I bet you made a difference to this man. And he, to you. This is an awesome story Glennon. Really enjoyed reading it. Made my heart a little warmer (b/c it has not been very warm lately). Thank you. Lot of love and hope you are well.
    (I too wish you “mama trees” were around when I needed help, mostly for my hubby, not me since he sold his truck for us to stay afloat and not lose our home). XOXOXOXOXXOXO

    • and Glennon, kudos to you for having patience and listenting to this man. I’m not saying we have to give up all our time (on a plane, train, etc) but this world needs more listening ….. stillness?….. so we understand each other. Too often we want to open our mouths and retort, or worse — just spout off what WE think without even giving people courtesy to speak and finish. Not saying that you HAD to sit and listen to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Do I make sense? But you practiced what you preach. I agree with Cori above me in this post. A love revolution. One person at a time. No matter how hard it may be or what time it dug into of yours. You also taught your son something there.

  34. You are such an inspiration…thank you.

  35. I love this story. I am often next to “that person” on the plane (I don’t think it’s a coincidence)
    Thank you for being patient and open, and allowing him to open up a *little*.

  36. This post is wonderful, makes me think of my father in law and how I try very hard to listen and very careful share my side of the world. You made me cry and inspired me to write with this one. Here is what popped in my head after reading
    this

  37. Oops…it was “like Jesus drinking gin out of the cat dish”…that’s the Annie Lamott I love…the irreverent, the honest, the hilarious. A young curate at our church shared one of his favorite quotes from the Bible once when asked if he thought Jesus had a sense of humor…it was simple, and much like your blog…”he laughed”…that’s it. Love.It.

  38. I am a momastery newbie…and I am hooked…your words are so spot on, real, and BRAVE…you, my new found blog favorite, are an amazingly honest human. When I read some responses to your truths (we call them “comments”), I just shake my head and remember that there is no defending what we feel and who we are…please continue being true to yourself…in that you are being true to many. Thank you. You are so brave. You are my daily Annie Lamott (or as a blog follower so aptly corrected me, St. Anne). I have not read such truth since her seeing Jesus in the dog food bowl comment. Love you and look so forward to my daily fix! Bless you!

  39. that was great!

  40. Glennon,

    Thank you for this article, I loved it. While I don’t share your liberal views, I am a huge supporter of your emphasis on Christ’s love. The LGB community points to extremist Christians who are responding out of HATRED (even though I believe Christians should disagree, it is NEVER okay to hate and tear people down. Never.) and write off all of Christianity as a result. How are Christians okay with this? Turning people away from the gospel over their inhumane responses, all in the “name” of Christ is one of the worst things I can think of. The church is a hospital, not a white-washed tomb.

    I think that this story is a great thing for people to read on this momentous “Chick-Fil-A” day. Both parties are persecuting one another, while claiming that no one should be persecuted, especially not by one’s own government.

    I am not a supporter of gay marriage, as I think it is unbiblical. But hating others is just as, if not more so, unbiblical. If we could all agree/disagree without all the hatred, our nation would be a lot better for it.

    • Very good points Kelly.
      I want to share that my very good friend (who is a gay man and has been with his partner for 25yrs) just had the (negative) experience of hearing that a pastor who is a good family friend stated that “gays should be put into concentration camps and eliminated”………ummmm………..NOT very christian of that pastor. So I responded to my friend saying “maybe all the haters of gays should be put into concentrations camps, and for that matter, maybe all the haters of ANY group, should all be put in a camp to work it out” and then I stopped and said “no, because then I would be a hater of haters”…….so I said let’s just think of them as “limited” and feel sad that their world is smaller and less happy than ours.
      I share this because I totally agree that the “hate” needs to go away.
      we are ALL God’s people…….and our job is not to judge, but to “do unto others” and be non-judgemental – as Jesus taught.

  41. this is stunning and wonderful! i would have just turned red and rolled my eyes and stewed. welcome, monkee tim! okay, we’ll welcome him when he gets here. xo

  42. What a timely story for our devisive times. I just kept thinking that his family SURVIVED a house fire that destroyed all their possessions. His family was alive and well. He hardened his heart instead of counting his blessing. How sad.

    • First, let me say that I mean for this comment to land softly.

      Imagine losing all of your worldly possessions and potentially the majority of the equity you have spent your life building. Then imagine having to put your daughter to sleep every night in a car while you work your ass off to rebuild your life. These things are difficult, but not enough to harden your heart. That part comes when none of your friends, family, or fellow congregants reach out to help you. Honestly, I think you are being a little hard on Tim.

      • I have to agree with Rae as well. I mean this to land softly too. You do not know how a situation “shapes” you and your future until you live it. I understand Tim’s gruffness, but I hope Glennon changed his heart. Whether your house burnt down, you have/had cancer, you lost a loved one…….to say count your blessings – yes, we know that. But it comes more across like “get over it”. I will count my blessing but do not TELL me to count my blessings. Wrong thing to say to one who has lost much. Those who have suffered will never get over but they will tread on. We are called warriors. I myself became jaded and a bit hardened and best of all, “smarter” about those in my life after cancer. Poor Tim. In a time of need, his neighbors stayed away; did they fear that “charity” would be something Tim could not accept or be too proud to accept? Did they think Tim made enough money and he didn’t need their help? Or did they fear their own fear of reaching out and just didn’t have time to give? I think his neighbors were horrible. I hope he moved. Tim is not bitter about his possessions, he lost faith in mankind. I would have too.

    • I have to agree with Rae. I think the hardening came when all of those who were supposed to show love turned their backs. Yes, God was still right beside them in that car — but where were friends/family/church-family?!?

      • I would have agreed with you a few years ago, but since then I have lost my most prized possessions and house. I may be living in my car if I can’t find an apartment by the end of the month. Most of my clothes have holes, but my children are healthy and I have a way to make a living. I am still blessed. My family, friends and church are emotionally supportive, but not financially supportive because I am too proud to ask them. What none of us know from the story is whether Tim asked for help or told people what was going on. This is only a guess, but I suspect that he might have been too proud to ask. Someday when my financial circumstances change, I want to give to people so they don’t have to ask.

  43. I am sure you hear this all the time. But I really want to thank you for putting into beautiful words much of the same way I feel about being a Christian in a true Christ-like sense. Bless you. Thank you for bringing this into my life today.

  44. Wow up on Huffington Post as well. Poor Tim didn’t know what he was in for talking to you on the plane! I hope he is handling all this publicity ok and all the readers are being kind.

  45. Glennon, long time reader and first time poster.

    Thank you – THANK YOU – for this blog entry. Truly talking and communicating with the rightiest is one of my biggest struggles in life, and as I prepare to head back to school in a week, it’s one of my biggest anxieties.

    Thank you for reminding me how to listen and how to respond.

  46. Thank you! I needed that this morning.

  47. SHEEEEESH! How in the world did you hit on the biggest, hugest failure of my current life?! Thank you Glennon for making me stop and look at myself….I would have so shot that man a look of “stop before you start cause I’m so not interested.” You were a glorious example of a Christian. As my eight year old would say, “YOU ROCK!”

    WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!

  48. Thank you! I will strive to be more open. You have inspired me to not immediately brush off “haters” for spouting Fox News commentary and truly listen to what is going on with them

  49. Two of my favorite quotations came to mind after I finished reading about your plane ride…and just so you know, I find myself doing the same thing even when I begin the journey with my nose buried in a novel…Mother Theresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless” and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.” Though you and Tim appeared to be as different as night and day, you are now bound by that golden chain.WWJD? Indeed.

  50. Thank you for your patience Glennon. Tim reminds me so much of my father…..

  51. Truth is stranger than fiction. And way better in this case. Loved the transformations, physical, spiritual, cognitive that brought you and Tim closer (and in your case, thank goodness,out of Chase’s lap!)

  52. Love it! What an awesome story — i wonder how many meetings like this we miss out on because we don’t take the time. and then we don’t broaden our world views. or show some compassion to someone else that probably really needs it. thanks for sharing.

  53. Glennon, I really needed this today. “If you’ve experienced the world as loving and generous – that is how you will live, in abundance. But if you’ve experienced the world as uncaring and cold, then it only makes sense that you will continue to live with that world view.” This singular statement explains SO much about the world!

  54. wow – just wow. Thanks for this.

  55. THIS, your story, is what the world needs more of! And that perspective, that if the world has treated you cold, then you will see the world as cold? Well that makes it a whole lot easier to love thy neighbor, doesn’t it? That’s just awesome.

  56. Hi Glennon…this is when I love you the MOSTEST. Good one!

    I need to know something. Please don’t think I’m judging you either, becuase I just NEED to know. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING IN THE PICTURE WITH CHASE??? I mean, you guys look like you are on a boat or something beachy and you have on like an embroidered wool vest????

    I ask this with love, you know.

  57. This made me cry. In all of the good ways.

  58. You are incredible. An inspiration.

  59. Glennon, love your clear thinking and right-on perspective. Thank you for sharing your valuable life’s work.

  60. Ahhh the right words at the right time!! God has blessed your heart, mind AND mouth– thank you for being open and sharing!

  61. Thank you for taking the time with Tim. It put a smile on my face and skip in my step today. I love getting REAL with people, it is so refreshing.

  62. Glennon,
    You practiced what my mama always taught…”listen more than you talk, laugh often, be gracious…” I don’t know that I would have done as well.
    Well done.
    Peace and good to you.

  63. [...] the way, Glennon from Momastery posted a great example on her blog yesterday. It shows just what can happen when we do listen, observe – and stay [...]

  64. I love this! It made me sob a baby carrot right out of my mouth! (I like a little late night snack with my Momastery! :) )

    You are wonderful, and I have a sneaking suspicion Tim might be too.

  65. Moving tale. I will try to be more open to those who think differently than I think!

  66. Yes. That’s right. PROGRESS. Thank you.

  67. I love you! Each time you post, I feel like I am opening a gift, so excited to see what’s inside! Thank you.

  68. Glennon, yet another perfect moment. I wish I had a fraction of your patience, but I’m thinking that next time I encounter someone with a different political opinion I will reflect back on this and care less about winning.

  69. G – you really seem to be living your calling. I love your perspective. This was an inspiring story and I hope your NEXT flight, whenever it may be, is blessed with quiet companions and a great book!

    PS – I’m a little tickled pink to be posting just after Bubba made an appearance in the comments section :)

  70. so inspiring, i never listen when i find myself in similar situations. i will (try to) next time.

  71. G – you did it! You were Jesus! You listened because the Holy Spirit told you to listen and you changed this man’s perspective! Maybe not forever, but if even for a little while, you let Jesus do His.thing. What a blessing for you, for Tim, for Chase as you modeled what you tell him is true and for us. Kind of makes me want to book a flight tomorrow in a middle seat!

  72. Good job, G. Half the time, just like when you were in college, I don’t really know what the hell it is you are doing but then when you do something like this I do. Tim’s a better guy for having met you. That’s high praise for the both of you.

    Bubba.

  73. Tim – if you’re reading, thanks for opening your heart and mind just a crack to Glennon and Glennon – thanks for always being a reminder of what an open heart and mind can begin!

  74. Great lesson Glennon for all of us and your telling of it is a gem!

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