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Galatians 4:20. I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Do you ever have that feeling Paul talks about here? Someone is not acting right, and you can’t for the life of you figure out what’s going on. Do they not understand how rude they’re being? Or do they know better and are ignoring those better instincts? Why would anyone do that at all?
I dislike speaking on the phone and email is a necessary evil. I simply can’t tell what people are really saying or meaning without seeing them face-to-face. Being in the same room with a friend or colleague means I can tell when they’re being playful or sarcastic or deadly serious. “I wish I were present with you now,” says Paul—yes, let me see you and you see me and have a real conversation. “I wish I…could change my tone,” says Paul—yes, I don’t want to be grumpy with you, I want to understand.
Today, I consider this passage both an encouragement to deepen my relationships and also a reminder that we’re not alone in our misunderstanding of one another. They were doing it in Paul’s day just as much as in our own time.
Today the Church remembers Columba, Abbot of Iona, 597.