Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Places to Swim

I had lunch at the Walnut Room at Macy's in Chicago on Monday. It's a restaurant in the original Marshall Fields store and it's been there since 1907. The building is nearly twice as old as I am. Our waitress suggested we order the 103-year-old pot pie (which definitely took us aback for a minute!) Two people at the table, whose ages added together do not equal mine, ordered, consumed and enjoyed the ancient recipe. We covered a myriad of topics over a 3-hour lunch and I marveled at these young people and how the world looks to them.

The spatial proportions of their lives are distinct from mine: the height of the buildings, the distances they commute, how long it takes to get from point A to point B and how much time they spend calculating that. How far ahead they plan - 5 minutes in some areas and 5 years in others. So much is instant that it makes many things possible - but also creates in them an appreciation for things that can only happen over long stretches of time.

The future looks different to them than it did to me at their age. They do not seem to dream pipe dreams; instead they carefully construct their plans. They want to be financially secure enough not to worry, but they want to do work that is both interesting and meaningful. They don't seem to believe they can change the world but they are willing to try and influence the sector they know.

One of the things I most loved and admired about these young people, but struggled to understand, is the way they can hold different positions on significant matters and not be uncomfortable with each other. There is something very Christ-like about the way they interact with one another, without judgement or shaming but with simple acceptance and appreciation. Perhaps because they have experienced the world so broadly (whether actually or virtually) they have come early to a place where they can accept that what is true for me may not be true for you.

Home from my adventure I turned to the recurring task of preparing for Bible study only to find that in the text (Luke 7) for this coming Sunday Jesus tells the parable of two people who were forgiven their debts; one a large debt, one a small one. Then he poses the question "Which one loved [the lender] more?" Clearly, how it looks and how one feels are related to where you are and what you've experienced. Jesus didn't say, or even imply, that they should love the lender equally. He simply pointed out that their circumstances would affect their response . I think my young people are on to something!

I know my customary swimming hole very well. I have recognized a lot of "truths" that help me enjoy it. I need to remember that local knowledge may not serve me as well in the Atlantic Ocean or the Nile River or whatever body of water others inhabit. I'm so glad I swam in a different pool this week! I feel energized, encouraged, excited and empowered.

Go ahead, try out a new pool and see how the world looks from the top of a wave or the bottom of a waterfall! It will change the way you love.

1 comment:

Beth Schrader said...

Maybe this generation will usher in a more compassionate, less adversarial culture.