Since about Thanksgiving, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter have been doing a sort of dance in the early evening sky. As the three brightest objects in the night sky, you can hardly miss their celestial ballet. They've been in a straight line and lately have formed the points of a triangle. It seems that they are communicating just by the fact that they are so close to each other in the sky and the similarities that they share.
By contrast, it feels like the architect that I have been working with and I have been clumsily stumbling over each other in the dark. My inability to impress on him the value of our schedule and the responsibilities I had assigned to him has resulted in an inferior design proposal and in our nearly missing an important deadline. I have been angry, frustrated and impatient with the circumstances. But, the words of my mentor, Ken Nair, return to me. "Anger, frustration and impatience are a secondary emotions. What are you feeling that's making you angry, frustrated and impatient? What are the primary emotions?"
Ken's words always prompt me towards self-examination and how the circumstances make me feel. When the architect paid no attention to the schedule I had put forward, I felt de-valued. When my phone calls and e-mails went unanswered, it was if I had been unheard. When my suggestions were not heeded, I felt dismissed. When he failed to live up to the responsibilities he was assigned, I really felt ignored. Ignored. That was the primary emotion.
I hate being ignored. I want to be taken notice of and paid attention to. I want to be understood. I want my opinions to count for something. I need to feel that my efforts are valued, not dismissed. When the architect ignored me, it made me feel un-important. More of Ken's words ring in my ears. "Now that you've identified some emotions, do you think that Christ ever felt these same emotions?" Certainly, Christ must have felt ignored throughout a lot of His ministry. Example: He performs a miracle and strictly tells those He's healed not to tell anyone. They spread the story all over the countryside. I wonder, did He hate being ignored as much as I do?
Ken usually asks one more question, "Have you made someone close to you feel ignored?" Because his is a marriage ministry, Ken's usually angling towards my wife (and my children). Yes, I'm sure I have made Gwen feel ignored. When I think about how the architect made me feel ignored, I understand how I make others feel that same emotion.
When I go with my own understanding and stop communicating I make others feel unheard. When I stop asking questions, I make others feel unimportant. When I put distance between myself and others, they feel de-valued. When I don't take Gwen's help and advice, especially when it comes to relationships, I make her feel dismissed. When I don't return phone calls or e-mails I make others feel ignored.
Communication can be like dancing. You cannot ignore your dancing partner. You stay close. Maybe even touch. You look at each other. Movements are synchronized, because you pay attention to each other. You become one. Yet you are separate. You reflect each other in your similarities, but maintain your individuality. When it's good it can be beautiful. Like Jupiter and Venus and the Moon.
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Letter from James