Do you ever just sit with yourself and IMAGINE what it's like to be someone else. I don't mean just anyone else, I mean a person who actually exists. Maybe you know them in "real life" or maybe they are someone you've seen on TV or the movies, or maybe it's someone you have read about from history.
Or have you ever IMAGINED what it's like to be an animal. I remember when I was younger we used to ask one another, "if you could be any animal what would you be?" I usually never answered the same. I'm fickle that way. Most of the time I would say chimpanzee (so cute and funny), sometimes I would say horse (so stately and beautiful and strong, yet scary to me), sometimes I would say dog (man's best friend of course).
Sometimes I sit and think of the people in scripture. I mean I linger and let my mind IMAGINE what it would be like to be them. I imagine their voice, and their smile, and their frown, and their smell, and their size.
I kind of got a portion of this idea from bible teacher, Beth Moore. In some of her bible studies she will kind of IMAGINE what it might have been like for various people in scripture in various circumstances.
Sitting quietly is not my strong suit. Just ask anyone in my family or anyone who knows me well. But when I do reign myself in and choose to deliberately let my mind IMAGINE or think on people in scripture and what it was like for them, it just brings God's word to life for me.
I had a student at school today ask me to recommend a book of the bible to her. She is actually in my Sunday school class and she had her bible at school. I am so proud of this young lady for wanting to read God's word. I suggested Philippians. I love that book. Anyway, she took me up on it and when the time for reading ended she basically said to me that it was unreal how Paul could be so happy while in prison. I mean this man was joyful while being locked up. She had connected with Paul in some way. I was thrilled.
Taking the time to let my mind go to that prison cell and feel the temperature and smell the smells and touch the hard ground and imagine the sounds and then IMAGINE what Paul thought when he closed his eyes at night and what he said to God in the low times and what he hoped and prayed allows me to understand Paul more.
I've written before that we can never really "walk a mile in someone else's shoes", but we can try to put ourselves in those shoes, metaphorically speaking. We can try to understand their joy, their pain, their sorrow, their anger, their bitterness, their jealousy, their doubt, their fear, their happiness, their grief, their burden. I'm still learning to do this. At this point, I am a novice.
I failed miserably at this recently with a friend who lost a loved one several years back. She was sharing about her continued grief and pain these several years later and she had shared this many times and most times I had truly been empathetic, but this day, oh, I was not. I held my feelings in and I smiled and consoled on the outside, but on the inside I wanted to shake her. Shouldn't she be farther along in this process by now. I mean it's been a few years now. Come on, let's get with the program.
I totally failed as a true friend. I did not try to "walk a mile in her shoes." I wanted to throw those shoes off her and put a pair of dancing shoes on her and say get up and get on with it. I thought, "haven't you been like this for LOOOOONG enough?"
Maybe a smidge of what I thought is true, but there was no compassion, no love, no caring, just judgement.
If I had allowed my mind to really listen as she shared and IMAGINE the hurt and what it is like in her circumstances and tried to feel what she was feeling I would have looked more like Jesus inside than my own judgemental self. OUCH!!
Bobby and I go back in the morning for his CT scan. Scans are in our future for a while. The last scan in April showed no cancer and we were and are grateful. He continues to gain his strength back little by little.
I hope to "put myself in Bobby's shoes" tomorrow and IMAGINE what each experience is like for him. Of course, I will have to talk to him about it all and ask a bunch of questions. I won't leave it all to my imagination. :)
Prayerfully I will look more like Jesus on the inside this time than my own judgemental self.