So then. I’m close to finishing up a pretty good blog when I sidestep onto Facebook. “Just for a second”, I tell myself. Nasty habit. Of course, you’d never do that because you’re perfect. Me? Not so much. Whatever, I see the achy-breaky posts from friends, real and virtual, who have been in the throes of goodbyes. I’m not good about them at the best of times but most especially during these months when my heart recalls the final days of a family and beats vulnerable.
Now, it would be hard to get to my age without losing something or someone treasured. Hopefully your goodbyes have been few. But even if, like me, they’ve been many, there’s stuff you get over and stuff you carry. Some hurts go deeper and last longer. That’s life. We just trust folks are dealing as best they can. Or do we?
When someone voices an opinion, one which differs from yours, it isn’t always necessary to put forward your thoughts on the subject. I mean, this applies to darn near everything, really. Did the person ask for your opinion? Do you have the facts? Are you reacting, triggered in some fashion by their comment? My questions are rhetorical, needless to say. The point is that we all too often assume failure or weakness when someone’s strategy contradicts our own. We don’t stop to consider that the individual might know what is best and is acting accordingly. After all, how one person counteracts the pangs of loss might send another person to the edge. Surely, we know that by now, yes? So the best response is often no response. Anything else is easily interpreted as judgement or worse, condescension.
Division is strengthened by thoughtless, holier-than-thou comments. Even worse, in today’s world, ten second sound-bites stand in for what would have once been an entire discourse on a subject. No wonder misunderstanding and hurt is rife.
Anywho, today I was judged. It hurt. Still hurts. The judges doing the judging surprised me. I don’t believe they would appreciate having an outsider call into question their choices. But, for some reason, they felt they could belittle mine.
We do this kind of thing all too often in big and not big ways. Today’s exchange got me looking closely at how often I assume to know what is right, what is best, for someone else. I pronounce infallibly on this topic or about that idea when I should be holding my tongue, offering silent witness to something that, while different, might be worth my consideration.
I applaud the choices of my accidental judges. I have no doubt that lives are greatly enriched by them. But there are a great many ways to achieve fulfilment, happiness, and love. Theirs is but one – a beautiful one – but still only one.
My wish tonight is to find the energy to re-jig my view of others. How do I speak about another’s style? Am I fully supportive of the woman who decides she will not have a child? Can I still see the value in a person who decides they will not get another pet? Does it matter that my neighbour has ten piercings? When I slander another in anyway, if I think myself better, I’m doing a disservice. Geesh, wake up calls are not always welcome but staying asleep isn’t an option. Gotta love it.