Some things are just meant to be shared. We were sitting in church yesterday morning, (of course in the baby section in the back lol) and while we listened to the story of a fellow parishioners baptism, she said an interesting thing. There’s a difference between a personal relationship with Christ and a private one. Now, most people who know me know that I consider myself a Christian, with all the loaded context that comes with this label. Hearing her story got me thinking about the things we choose to share, or specifically the things I choose to share and why? What makes the determination between personal and private?
As a person who blogs regularly about topics concerning fatherhood, family, and faith (most of the faith conversation happens on my other blog (http://everydayspiritualvitamins.blogspot.com), I share a lot. What I try to do is share what’s relevant, and oftentimes that means sharing what’s personal in order to make a connection. For example, it does no good to simply say that the life of a parent is messy sometimes. Instead, it’s easier (and it resonates) to paint the picture of last night. I have 3 daughters, one is a newborn of 2 months. So while London (the newborn) is being rocked in my arms, I’m standing in front of the TV shouting while the 49ers are rocking my Falcons..(don’t get me started). Meanwhile, Samantha has just finished washing 2 heads of hair (mothers of black daughters, you’ll understand the struggle), and she’s upstairs engaged in an epic battle of combing, greasing, and literally pulling hair in order to braid our daughter’s hair for the week. Oh, what a fun rite of passage. Laundry covers the living room in my misguided ambitious attempt to actually fold laundry, while comforting a screaming baby that for some reason hasn’t gone to sleep in 7 hours (literally 7 daytime hours! why oh God why?). And, on top of that, it’s nearing 7pm which means the ritual of bath time, bedtime, story time, and prayer time is upon us and there’s still so much to be done before we’re even ready to sit down and take a break ourselves. Wow, I felt exhausting writing that, it’s like I just relived the day yesterday!
But that’s sort of the point. In order to share something useful, often it does need to be personal in order to make a meaningful connection. That’s what I love most about reading, writing, talking, or simply engaging with other human beings: the connections we’re able to make with one another through sharing our experiences. Oftentimes we find that we have more in common than we anticipated. Sometimes we learn things from one another, if we’re open to doing so. Always, there’s the potential for meaningful impact.
And by the way, this works in our relationships with our kids too. Last night, after story time and prayer, then tucking in Olivia, Riley and I walked across the hall to her bedroom. This was a bit strange because usually, if we end in Olivia’s room, Riley will ask for a back ride back to her bed (or vice versa if we end in Riley’s room, Olivia will ask). It’s what daddy’s do. Let their kids climb all over their bodies for the fun of rough housing. Anyways, it didn’t happen last night. A bit surprised, I simply remarked, Riles, you didn’t want a back ride tonight? I kind of missed it. Do you know what she replied? Oops! I forgot to ask for one. Don’t worry daddy, I still love you. Wow. Then she gave me a hug. Everyday one of my kids amaze me. This time it was for reminding me that sharing really is caring.