I had the most interesting conversation with a woman today.
We’re in a Bible study together. A pretty intense Bible study. That digs deep into your heart and your pain and your roots.
But it is also cleansing and inspiring.
So today, as we re-learned how much God really loves us and how he delights in us, this lovely grandmotherly woman shared how she often needs to remind herself that she is valuable. She is loved and cared for. She is cherished by her Creator.
Another woman of similar age shared how she had to learn to pray for herself. She had always thought she should pray for others, but felt that praying for herself was selfish and prideful. Until God showed her that she needed to be healthy in order to heal. She needed to be blessed in order to be a blessing.
Then they said something very interesting.
They agreed, their generation didn’t hear that a lot. They were never told when they did something well. They were only told when they did something wrong. They were seldom told that they were special or valuable. They were always taught to put others first and to not get too full of themselves.
I’m pretty sure I sat with my jaw open.
I grabbed the woman’s arm and said, “We were taught the exact opposite. We were taught to live with high self-esteem, that we were special and valuable. We were constantly praised. We were told we could do anything and be anything. We were told it was all about us…
…But now I want more of what you have!”
To which she replied, wide-eyed, “And I want more of what YOU have!”
It was an epiphanic moment for me. And while I know it is a broad generalization, for two very specific women of two very different generations, this was reality. Her yesterday and my dream of rediscovering yesterday colliding in an awkward paradox.
So, where is that middle ground between our generations that accurately and humbly values oneself as God does but respects and cherishes and serves others, too?
And how do I rediscover yesterday when yesterday was so real (and sometimes painful) to those who lived through it?
And what do we do about the next generation? Do we leave the gap? Let it broaden? Do we close it and let them come nearer?
Today opened my eyes.
Mind the Gap. It’s there. It’s not perfect on either side. But we sure can learn a lot from each other!