I’ve always been a fairly private person. Yes, I realize that sounds ridiculous coming from a woman who blogs publicly about her life and her family. However, for most of my life my motto has been, “mind your own business and I’ll mind mine.” I chose what to share, how to share it and whom to share it to. I resented it when people stuck their nose in where I didn’t think it belonged.
I have also tried to keep my own nose to myself – to stay in my lane, to not trip over my own feet because I’m paying so much attention to someone else’s, and to basically let “you do you” – even if “you” are a bit of a jerk.
Lately, though, I’ve come to believe that staying out of each other’s business is the last place we need to be. On the contrary, we need to be in each other’s business. Not in an internet troll, finger-wagging, let-me-tell-you-everything-you-have-ever-done-wrong kind of way. No, not like that. Rather, in a caring way. In an encouraging way. In a, let-me-help-you-up-when-you-fall kind of way.
Because like it or not, right or wrong, fair or unfair, my business affects your business and your business affects my children’s business.
We don’t live solitary lives, as much as some of us introverts may wish it was otherwise.
We live in community. A community that is showing the ragged edges, the rotting holes and the pitted scars of people that we’re letting fall through the cracks. The people we’re pushing away, avoiding and ignoring.
The man with the crazy eyes on the street corner.
The woman with too many unruly children in the grocery store.
The kid with the bad attitude that never follows directions.
The old guy sitting alone every church service who slips in the back after the music starts.
The teenager with the saggy pants and hoodie.
The different. The other. The weird.
The people that share our space and see us look through, over and past them.
When I’m in my own lane, keeping my story to myself and not asking about yours, I’m completely missing the point of community. I’m missing the power of connection and the healing that comes when we share our burdens. I’m missing the privilege of helping someone through a struggle that I’ve suffered myself. One where I’ve clawed and scraped and crawled my way out of it, emerging stronger and wiser on the other side. I’m missing the chance to be mentored by someone who has been though what I’m going through right this moment. Someone who could take some of the burden and show me where the end of the tunnel may be.
When I see someone hurting and I say to myself, “mind your own business,” I’m ignoring a person that may need me. They may desperately need one kind word. One hug. One outstretched hand. One person in all the people that have passed by that says, “I see you.”
So today, I’m telling my kids to be a person that sees. A person that isn’t afraid to step out of their lane to help someone who is struggling in theirs. I’m telling them to be a person that cares. Who is willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this lost, broken and hurting world.
I’m telling them to be nosy.