You’ve Got Mail has been a favorite movie of ours for a long time. Aside from being charming, quirky, and fun, it’s infinitely quotable. We love that. Especially the one when Meg Ryan’s character (whose bookshop has just been put out of business by a big chain bookstore) confronts the “big boss” Tom Hanks who keeps spouting, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Meg, in her typical way, says, “What does that mean anyway? It may be just business to you, but it’s personal to me. If it doesn’t start with personal, what is it?” Now, that’s not an exact quote, but it’s the gist and it’s what I took away from the scene.
Personal. What a wonderful word. It’s that space where you are seen, known, addressed, and acknowledged. When something is personal, we feel it deeply—good or bad. Yet too often we get caught up in theory or programming or philosophy or the 1001 things that have our attention. We get preoccupied with the rudiments and logistics…getting things done. We can breeze right on by the meaningful details or thoughtful actions that communicate that we are personally involved, not just vocationally.
I love the story of the 10 lepers approaching Jesus. Jesus, who was walking along the road with a group, stopped where He was and gave the lepers a look from top to bottom. Whatever else that happened, the risk taking, the healing, the changed trajectory, it started with Jesus giving them a thorough look.
How do I experience this personalness from Jesus? How do I give it to others?
We can do a lot for people in so many ways, but if it’s not infused with something personal, then what are we really communicating?
ACTION: Perhaps take a walk down memory lane. What have your parents or friends done for you that felt wonderfully personal—like they saw you? Write them a note and express how their actions impacted you, wording the note in the way you know they will like–in other words, make it personal!