Here's what happened: I prayed, read God's Word, and went to bed, just as I have been doing for the past few days--except, when I woke up, I had an interesting story to share.
In my dream, I was trekking through a vast, golden tangle of field, tall weeds, and tall, tree-like bushes. A large group of people that I have been familiar with since I was young but have rarely spoken to were hiking through the underbrush with me. One of my close friends stuck by my side for part of the journey, but somehow we were separated, and I ended up alone. I came upon an ominous tunnel of bush and hesitantly decided to crawl through it in hopes of rejoining the others on the opposite side. The branches seemed to grab at me, and dark forms threatened from all directions--until they came. Two people that I have long judged since I knew them for their habit of snubbing or disregarding me. Yet here they were, offering me salvation from the evil clutches of the bushes--and isolation.
The three of us ended up walking with each other for the remainder of the trip. the two were more amiable and down to earth than I would have ever thought possible. We talked and laughed all the way to our destination: a performing arts center. Once everybody was inside the building, the two people and I went off together again on our own. We drifted into a large room where a group of thespians were rehearsing for an upcoming theatrical production. The three of us sank into a couple of back row seats and continued our comfortable conversing while actors practiced on their stage before us. Just as I was beginning to wonder why I hadn't ever thought of befriending these wonderful people before, the lights dimmed, and the female lead of the musical began to sing her solo. All of us immediately quieted because her voice was absolutely mesmerizing.
Finally the siren-like voice ceased and the lights turned back on. As the light returned, however, I sensed something was wrong. I turned to the two others, made a comment about a Guinea pig (for reasons I cannot recall), and saw something I can't say I didn't expect: the backs of the two people's heads. They had turned away from me to talk to each other. I said something else, and they turned and gave me a look that chilled and embarrassed me. My bad-feeling-instinct was right to have warned me of trouble. The wonderful chemistry the three of us had previously mutually shared was just gone, obliterated in the time it took me to brush my teeth in the morning...and I? I stood to my feet and began to walk away, confused, and mourning the loss of our brief friendship.
As I was waking up from this dream, my final thought was, "What did I say to offend them?"
For a long time, I have disapproved of people who seem to ignore me--people I see every week who do not turn to look at me when I say "hi." Last night, I believe God confronted me about this flawed thinking through my dream. I have been wrong to think that these seemingly aloof kids are rude or fake or anything, really...because they, like I, are only human! They are simply fallible people who are doing their best to be more like Jesus. Just because these individuals do not acknowledge me when passing by does not make them bad people. Life is not about Megan, life is about Jesus. Besides, I may not know the full story...perhaps there is something going on that I don't know about? Only God can see and change people's hearts! What I should be focusing on, instead of my own pride and self-pity, is "How can I change?" or "How can I be a better friend?" because in the end, the only person I can change (with Jesus' help!) is myself. Maybe God will convict these people to be more friendly and sensitive in the future, but for now I should not be offended, but instead humbled, graceful, and encouraging.
Jesus warns believers in Matthew 7:1-5:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye"; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.