A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35
We are a 15 minute culture. When we hear this we immediate think of 15 minutes of fame. We have all seen a celebrity, musician, or more recently in history a YouTube sensation get their 15 minutes where people care about them. But then that 15 minutes quickly fades. This has also trickled into other areas of how we function as a society. Issues in the news usually last 15 minutes. Sports championships last 15 minutes. Music hits last only 15 minutes. Our excitement over good news lasts only 15 minutes. We are a fast paced, go-go-go culture that must get to the next, best thing. We care about something for 15 minutes, and then we move on.
I have observed that this also carries over into how we care for others. I’ve seen how as a society we have about a 15 minute attention span for others whether through individual cases or through national tragedies. This is most obvious when it comes to national tragedies. Whether weather related such as hurricanes overtaking cities, tornadoes wiping out entire neighborhoods or towns, or acts of violence such as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the bombings at the Boston Marathon, we are encapsulated by everything for a short while, but then we move on to the next, best item in the news. I’ve done this plenty of times, but only a few years ago did I begin to realize it and realize how much it frustrated me.
We also do this individually with those around us. While I believe that it is not intentional, when a situation, issue or tragedy arises, we focus our attentions in for about 15 minutes, and then after a short time period we move on. This may be after a death, a diagnosis or loss of any other kind. I’ve done this plenty of times, but I’ve also felt the effects of this too. We focus in on people for a short time period, show them that we care, and then we move on to something else. I don’t believe we are intentional about our 15 minute caring, but I believe we unintentionally allow it to happen.
Having lost my dad two years ago, and having lost our twins nearly 5 months ago, I felt the love and support of our community around us as we walked through the pain and grief of both these times in our lives. But our 15 minutes passed. I say this sensitively because we have had an amazing group of friends and family around us that has continued to intentionally walk alongside of us through these past 2 years and 5 months. But our time ended for the majority. Now I was hesitant to write this post at all, especially adding in this last paragraph about myself. However, I added it in for a purpose to hopefully not come off whinny, but more providing strength to my overall point.
So what? Where do we go from here? Tomorrow I want to give a few more thoughts on how we can walk alongside people after their 15 minutes has ended. We are called to love one another by Jesus as this will show our faith in Him as disciples. Jesus didn’t give us a time frame in how we are to love others, and I believe we can continue to walk alongside people after their 15 minutes has ended that will show them that we truly do care about them.