I have been in Chattanooga the past couple of weeks studying 1 Peter. The book is all about suffering for “doing what is right.”
I had a chance to see my ugly heart last night.
I don’t like suffering – read this as “I don’t like being inconvenienced in any way.” #firstworldproblems.
A new family move into the Air B&B where I’m staying. (My suite was once a master bedroom/bathroom and has been walled off to make a separate unit.) I could hear everything! The family may be from Asia; they speak no English while in the house. And they are loud. They have two young children: one who loves to run up and down the stairs and all over the house plus a baby who doesn’t seem to talk yet.
Last night, after an hour of demonstrating how unhappy it was (yelling, pounding toys, throwing loud things) and then crying for a very long time, the baby was put to bed in the room directly above mine.
My first thought: “Please don’t put it there! And don’t let it cry all night!”
He/she did not want to sleep. Crying soon became shrill screaming. After thirty minutes of attempting to let the baby cry it out, I heard the parents try to sooth their baby but to no avail.
My next response was, “NO! It is ten thirty and I want to sleep! Quiet hours are clearly posted as 10Pm-8Am. Can’t they read! I hope they get that kid to sleep soon! Just make it STOP CRYING!”
I was immediately struck with how ugly my thoughts were, how ugly my heart toward this family was.
These parents had been trying to console their baby for more than an hour already. They were walking and bouncing and singing to their crying baby. They were trying everything! The babe was in an unfamiliar place and had probably been in a car seat much of the day. I am sure they were all tired from their travels and moving two children with all the stuff that comes with kids into the two-story Air B&B. I am sure they wanted to go to sleep more than I did.
So I prayed. I prayed for them and for their baby, who was clearly upset. I chose to change my heart toward them. I chose love and compassion over bitterness and resentment.
Then I got out a book and read peacefully until the babe was quiet.
I slept well and woke refreshed. Ready to smile at the cheerful baby noises coming so early from the kitchen on the other side of the wall.
Ironically, I am reading “Loving God and Others: The Heart of True Faith” and just started a study of 1 John which has as a main theme loving others because we have been loved by God.
We have opportunity to love others every day, and sometimes we do it without them seeing. Last night I got to choose to love this family and pray for them instead of harboring resentments.