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Summertime GreenPosted Friday, July 16, 2010, at 12:03 PM
The other day someone at a meeting remarked that I was wearing more colorful clothes this summer.
Others looked at her dumbfounded while I sweated that my secret was out.
She continued in saying that I was wearing a variety of colors this year but that last summer she never saw me wearing anything that wasn't green.
She wanted to know why.
I couldn't lie.
I had gained a great deal of weight from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009. By May of that year I could only fit into one pair of pants I owned.
They were green.
Being "slightly" hard-headed, I was bound and determined that I wouldn't purchase any new pants because they would have to be sizes larger than my ego was willing to accept.
So, I continued to wear that pair of green trousers. They were washed every third or fourth day.
And then put back on.
I'm pleased to announce that I'm now wearing a variety of clothes including several pairs of trousers that I've owned for several years. I'm even wearing shorts from time to time. I'm in better shape now than I've been in several years thanks to walking daily and working out on a treadmill from time to time and cutting back on my selection of foods.
Dr. Oz is right about walking ten thousand steps a day; it really does make a difference in how you feel!
And I've started wondering about the things we notice in each other.
Spirituality involves being aware of community and the people who make up the community(s) to which we belong. Social psychologists affirm that each of us belong from three to seven communities at any given time; there is even this theory about the average Westerner being able to maintain no more than 147 relationships at any given time.
We notice other people. We observe change in other people. After a while, we even spot patterns in the behavior of other people and can begin to "predict" certain things about another person by the pattern we've discerned.
I bet you know which friends of yours are coffee drinkers by their behavior patterns! I bet you also know which friends of yours are rather stressed right now in their lives, or which friends are having difficulty maintaining control over alcohol in their lives, or which friends are having financial troubles.
We observe each other, notice little things about each other, and after a while will even inquire about what we've observed. Indeed, to be in a relationship with anyone in any of our communities of interaction requires that we inquire about them and the changes we see.
Know when a person has become a friend? A friend will ask you about what they are observing; a person who is not your friend will gossip with others about what they are observing.
Often times we don't know the specific reason for what we are observing but we do spot the patterns. My friend knew that last summer I only wore green, but she didn't know why until she asked. And what you may be observing about your friends are simply the usual patterns of behavior and the changes to those patterns that are happening.
It is a spiritual gift when a friend will ask you why that change is occurring. And it feels great to be nurtured in this way, that someone cares enough about you to be so observant.
I hope you'll take the time to ask your friends about changes you've seen in their lives in recent days. Many will give you answers that will seem innocent and many will give you answers that will cause you both to giggle!
And sometimes, sometimes, your friend will tear up and realize that those haunting secrets are actually quite visible to others and that it is time to take charge!
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.