Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting Rid of Ciphers . . .

For Family Home Evening this week, we watched a classic short film by Brigham Young University called, "Cipher in the Snow." I've included the video here if you want to watch yourself:

It is a sad story about a little boy who just walked off a bus and died in the snow. No one even knew who he was. The Principal of the school pawned off the responsibility of telling the parents of the boy, to a teacher at the school. The teacher was chosen because they had found something in the boy's record about how this particular math teacher was his favorite. Though, the teacher could hardly recall anything about the boy - only that he had helped him with his homework on a couple occasions. As the story develops, the boy's story surfaces a bit. It becomes clear that no one took the chance to really love and understand him. He was labeled and treated as a nobody. He believed it and ultimately became just that - a cipher.

I hate to admit it, but there have been a couple occasions where I've treated peers as ciphers. Never with the intention of making them feel bad, mostly because of my own self-interest and comfort, really. I have noticed some individuals and had compassionate stirrings in my heart, but found "legitimate" excuses to not put those thoughts into action.

This short little film made me think about the people in my life and to question my heart- are there people within my influence who I should make the effort to befriend? What more can I do to reach out to those who tend to go unnoticed? How can I make sure to not excuse away the people I need to serve most?

A goal for all of us really should be to get rid of all ciphers! How do we get rid of them? Hopefully we don't lose them to suicide, or heart failure, or any number of things. Let's get rid of ciphers - or nobodys - by taking the time to notice and love them. Because the moment someone is noticed and cared for, they cannot, by definition be a nobody any longer. Russ Morgan has his own musical rendition of that idea: (though this discussion is in a completely different realm) ;)

Maybe Ingrid captures the sentiment a bit more?

The film brought back fresh in my mind a quote I discovered my freshman year at BYU and a surefire way to improve in this area - of getting rid of ciphers:

"Never suppress a generous thought." - Camilla Kimball

I'm glad I had the chance to ponder on this idea a bit the last few days. It has been a good reminder to stay spiritually alert, and active in my compassion. I just thought I'd spread the thought and ask you - 

How do you reach out to the one?

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