Monday, November 7, 2011

what you don't know...

I've been incredibly overwhelmed lately with our "perspective" on others. We constantly view those around us in light of how they affect us.  And, y'all?  That's jacked up.

I have had numerous friends comment to me how people are rude to them.  Or standoffish.  Or "too cool" to have time for them.  Or that they are not important enough for that person's friendship.  And, in full disclosure, I've been on that critical side of thinking as well.

Then "those" people- the ones that are rude, or standoffish, or "too cool"- will speak.  And they will speak words of pain or hurt or exhaustion.  I have, thankfully, had the opportunity to listen to some of "those" people recently... and their stories are more than their exteriors could tell us.  They are dealing with parents who are dying, husbands who are unfaithful, spouses who are addicted, loneliness and hurt.  But we don't see that.  We see how they affect us.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to go away with 20 girlfriends to the mountains.  Just before playing cards on Saturday morning, one of my friends said to me, "I have a confession.  I may have come across rude to you in the past... but it's because you intimidate me."

Um, what?

Me?  But I'm so _______ (insert non-exciting word there), how could I intimidate you?  You are gorgeous and witty and amazing....

And there in lies the problem.  While my friend and I debriefed this phenomenon of how little we understood each other it hit me again: we just don't take the time to know people.  We go in with our preconceived notions... we interpret their actions based on how they affect us... we don't get past the surface to know the person.

This is no way to live.

In the midst of this "thankful" month, I'm choosing to be thankful for those around me.  I'm choosing to see the person, not just their actions.  I'm choosing to give them more grace instead of just interpreting their distance as a lack of interest.  And... I'm choosing to not make me the focus of it all.  We just don't know what is going on in the lives of those around us... and, it likely has nothing to do with us.



The Pitter Pat Boutique said...

So very true. Well written friend!

Michael said...

In a church this size there will be a natural tendency towards cliques. It's an observable phenomenon, in both male and female circles. The challenge is remembering that "love one and other" extends beyond a circle of two or three, and moving out into the wider and general population. Withholding the gifts that we have been given to that safe circle isn't scriptural, at least as far as I can see so far.

The latest study in America shows that the average American has no more than 2 close friends. To the contrary, the biblical picture of Christian community is one of a love so far reaching and communal that it exceeds the world's relational model by orders of magnitude.

I've experienced the same things you've described in your blog. For 5 years I was one of "those" people. Moving through those cell membranes is less of an invitational osmosis and more of an aggressive relational campaign that more often than not ends at the first or second conversation or engagement.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I know the start of the solution is the "one and other" list, with Love at the head of the manual...