Monday, February 19, 2018

Stop overshadowing me!

Leo Buscaglia was quoted as saying, "No one can grow in the shade." As a professor of special education at the University of Southern California, Buscaglia taught many students throughout his career - each one learning that if we "overshadow" another long enough, we stunt their growth. We need to let others experience the light in order to grow! It was his firm belief that love began around the supper table - around a good, old-fashioned meal. Why? If done well, with clear expectations set that media and electronics would not be interrupting this time, it became the place where dreams were shared, thoughts were expressed, ideas were proposed, and people got down to the business of getting to truly know each other. If we want to allow others to grow, we need to give them a way to shine!

If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise. If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do? Even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love. If I gave everything I have to poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TLB)

If you didn't know this about Mr. Buscaglia, he was known as "Dr. Love". Why? He had learned well this idea of not 'overshadowing' others, but allowing them enough space and light to grow to their full potential - whatever that may be. Maybe this is why he chose his profession - helping others learn to teach those who others in society may label as not having 'much potential'. It was n the context of 'family' that he learned some of his greatest lessons. Family isn't always about those that share our same last name, though. Sometimes family can be those God has graced our lives with - those who make a connection with us and become the ones that foster our growth. Family isn't everything, but without family we might not see the areas where we need the most help growing.

As he often said, the love we have given we will have forever, but every moment lost in expressing or sharing that love is lost for all of eternity. I believe the opportunity to grow may be the very act of love that takes a step back and allows another to take one forward. The opportunity to 'shine' isn't realized until one has something to reflect. In order to have something to reflect, one has to be graced by the light! Human compassion is a very good thing - true connection with another is something which comes when someone can actually begin to appreciate the subtle differences between one another and then work to let those differences shine forth in the light of Christ's love.

If you have ever observed the shady places in the tall pines of the forest, you see growth, but that growth is something quite different from that which is graced by light at least some of the day. Why? The light challenges the tiniest of growth - it urges it to break forth - then to struggle to find root - so that it may grow even more. We need to love in such a way - so as to help others grow in ways only the light of Christ's love is capable of bringing growth! Just sayin!