The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. “Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that traveler of his cloak.”
Do you know the story? A battle ensues between the forces of nature with the same purpose in mind but differing tactics.
Have you ever heard a different but familiar story? Everyone is talking about unity but arguing on how to get there. Battles ensue between the forces of community with the same purpose but differing tactics.
The tactics of force for unity and relationship often come in gales of wind that remind me of my parents telling me to say “I’m sorry” to my sister when I wasn’t there yet. Unity cannot be forced or blown into place. When hard things hit our communities, we look around at each other and our faces scream of “DO SOMETHING!” Usually that something involves haste, bluster, often cold and hurtful words. When those things hit, it often reveals the lack of our unity, the absence of our relationships and the key ingredient we need…warmth.
Here’s a little secret-we’ll never agree on every single topic. But we certainly won’t be able to care for each other when we label each other with the things we don’t agree about. God knows that. He knew we’d get caught up in the nitpicking-He knew the Jews fleeing Israel would, He knew the Pharisees would and He knows we will. So He said through Jesus, “The greatest commandment is to love.”
He lived it. He had every right to blast Zaccheus with the winds of judgement for stealing money. He could have poured shame all over the woman at the well instead of giving her living water merely by using her as an evangelist to go tell her village about him. Look at that-he sent a woman! What validation that was in her culture…in any culture!
When the hard things come, it’s better when the relationships are already there. In the midst of a scary doctor’s visit, a horrible accident rarely do you suddenly have the support you need. It has to have already been in place. We’ve seen that story go both ways. Isolation and desperation when there’s no surrounding support or the amazement of all who see a group surrounding people with what we all need now…love, sweet love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. Thank you, Dionne Warwick-hopefully, we learn something through music.
So instead of choosing the wind’s tactics of having all the right answers in crisis, blowing winds of judgement and concrete answers for things we have not experienced, let’s try the efforts of the sun.
“At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders.”
-Just pause, send warmth.
-Instead of saying, “I’m praying”…pray with prayers for Spirit comfort not a quick answer.
-Treat your waitress like she’s your daughter. Ask for her the next time. Give her a big tip.
-“Talk less, smile more.”
-Invite the people you don’t know to your table. Jesus’s favorite piece of furniture was a table.
-Make sure you know a person’s story before you decide what next chapter they “should” be writing.
-Share your own story and your own warmth and watch it be reflected back.
The great thing about those old fables is they always came with a moral:
Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.
Be the sun in your world of people,
not the wind.
Bring the Son of Light to your people,
not the cold wind.
About the author:
Dana Welty spends her days singing and dancing with five year olds while posing as a Kindergarten teacher. #PeterPan Dana began her career in advertising and PR, but her love for children and changing the world called her to pursue education and pouring into souls. For the past 22 years, she’s taught high schoolers, preschoolers, and elementary kiddos believing that we are all Kindergarteners in our hearts-we need gold stars and bandaids. She grew up as the child of a minister and has served along side her husband, George in his various ministries through their 27 years of marriage. Dana graduated from Freed Hardeman University with her BA in Communication/Theatre and then completed her Master’ Degree in Education there as well. Dana lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and is grateful for her life.