In these days of nearly instant information availability, we think we know a lot about people, things, and issues. Truth be told, we may know more in a quantitative sense but less in a qualitative sense. Too much information can make us less discerning.
The Christmas commercial below is touching and enlightening at the same time. Basically, it plays off the Scrooge/Grinch theme. The commercial shows a grouchy fellow who is touched and converted by the Christmas kindness of some children. That’s the obvious message.
But I wonder if there isn’t another way to see this commercial. Perhaps it is the children (and we whom they represent) who need to add some depth to their perception of the man. He does come across as lonely and rather private, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a grouch or that he should be feared. Perhaps he’s just shy. Maybe his wife died recently. Perhaps his age has limited him.
At any rate, the man returns the kind gesture of the children, multiplied. And while this might mean that he experienced a miraculous conversion, it more likely means that he wasn’t really as grumpy and cold as they thought.
A while back, someone wrote to me saying that in my writing I come across as grouchy and generally displeased with things. The person continued on to say that hearing the sound of my voice and my laughter on the radio revealed another side of me, such that my writings no longer seem so severe.
Well praise the Lord! We can’t avoid perceptions, but we do well to consider them provisional until we have more information. To seem is not to be.
Who is your neighbor? This isn’t really a request for a list of names; it’s an invitation to ponder more deeply who our neighbor really is.