“the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with”
This word has come to mind a lot today.
There is a lot of tolerance and intolerance in this world we live in.
I tolerate some things and certainly won’ t put up with other things! (like crass language in front of my kids!)
But when it comes to people and interactions, relationships, general everyday living… this word “tolerate” feels void of compassion…
So where am I heading with this I hear you say? Another late night wafting ramble Ruth?
Our Sunshine, from the minute she rises until the moment she sets each day, displays such a rainbow of behaviours and emotions, so freely, that we are daily witnesses of tolerance and intolerance from those in the world around her.
As a mother of a highly sensitive child, as well as three other beauties, levels of tolerance play a big role in the outcomes of my day. For example, the tolerance of an 8-year-old (who looks older than 8!) singing Christmas carols at the top of her voice in Wal-Mart while shopping the day before Christmas eve vs. the intolerance of this same child doing the same but in the middle of the year, makes a HUGE difference to the stress levels of a VERY busy mum! Sunshine doesn’t have a filter that says, “It’s not Christmas and people don’t want to hear Christmas carols while shopping in June”, she just bursts forth in song when happy. Having to suppress this outburst of joy due to the unhappy and somewhat annoyed fellow shoppers who do their best to communicate with glares and “intolerant” glances is a mammoth task and one I do not cherish. But today I was struck by something….
The “tolerant” looks today from Christmas shoppers, as Sunshine trilled like a songbird to Rudolph the red nose reindeer, were in no way threatening like I mentioned above, and I felt no need to say “hush!”, BUT they were void of compassion and in many cases were pitying and judgemental.
“Oh what a dear! Must be something simple about that child”,
“Poor mother! She has got HER hands full!”,
“Must be hard to manage a child like that when you have SO many!”
…. I think most mums have read those thoughts on well-meaning faces before!
To tolerate something different is not bad, in fact it is in a simple way… good.
But to seek to understand, to learn about, to love another’s differences is a strength and a gift!
So on the eve of Christmas eve, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who does more than tolerate my precious girl!
I want to say thank you to those who hold her hand when attempting a new physical challenge.
To those who offer encouraging words when she does a little (or LARGE) panic.
To those who show compassion even for the tiniest graze or loose bit of skin.
To those who patiently help her with fussy clothing or sleeves that need folding just right.
To those who don’t get offended when she orders them around.
To those who calmly tell her to say “excuse me” and wait her turn to talk.
To those who watch her many dances or listen to her songs and applaud.
To those who play along with her imaginary games.
To those who love her by their actions and words and allow her to shine happily!
Knowing there are people out there like you, makes being her mum an easier adventure!
There are days when I scream out inside “JUST BE NORMAL!!!” and then I see her do something extraordinary or just simply Sunshine, and I THANK God for giving me a child who teaches me about humility, patience, sacrifice, faith, courage, and ooodles of LOVE every day!
Choose to LOVE rather than TOLERATE.
Toleration will get you by… But Love will give you the eyes and heart of Christ! 🙂
Blessings & Happy Christmas
ps. what song is the title of this post from? 🙂