What You See…

Nothing is what it appears to be.

Ever been convinced something is true, only to discover there is, indeed, another logical explanation? I admit, it’s easier for me to point out this oh-so-human flaw in others, and I know a few people who routinely will stubbornly insist they are right, regardless of the possibility there is another way of looking at the situation.

Moments ago I was proven wrong about something that seemed so clear to me…okay, I knew my suggestions were off-the-wall, but there honestly was a logic to them. And who knows, in the future someone might say, “hey, she was right…I’ll be darned!” I’m not counting on it, but it has happened in the past.

I try not to judge others, and one of the biggest reasons why is this: we simply don’t have all the information. No matter how wise, sophisticated or informed you may believe yourself to be, you are not omniscient. You are limited in your view of the world by your experience.

One friend of mine practically spits if you mention Melania Trump.

Now, I’m not a fan of our president, never have thought he was anything but a buffoon. I can’t imagine being married to him (the thought of that makes me spit), and neither can my friend. Yet just because we see nothing desirable in the man doesn’t mean some other woman won’t find him attractive.

I hear the laughter — let me finish —

Seriously, while my friend thinks Melania married Donald strictly for his money, I say this: I don’t know the woman. I don’t know why she married him. I don’t know what he was like when he was courting her. You get my point. Maybe the money was the strongest draw, maybe not. I would guess she never genuinely anticipated being First Lady, and that’s a role with a high cost, so I have some sympathy for her. My friend does not; she thinks she got what she deserved.

That’s the kind of judgment I pray you never hear me make about another.

I was the victim of some harsh judgment several years ago,

and I lull myself to sleep many nights thinking how my accusers may have fallen in their pursuit of evidence of my non-existent wrongdoing. They spent a lot of time and money chasing after this information, and someone, somewhere along the line, must have said, “what the hell are you doing?” because they never dug up the dirt they were certain was within their grasp. There must have been enough misinterpreted data along the way for them to continue in this fruitless pursuit, and I imagine they fell victim to their own limited viewpoint when evaluating the facts.

Knowing human nature, and in particular, knowing the individuals involved, they never did give up believing I was guilty of some wrong-doing. Perhaps they are still waiting for me to trip up.

I’m not suggesting
Train Passengers
Each of us has our own unique view, our own experience to draw on.

we remain so open-minded we become gullible, victims of our own consideration. There is a point where we know enough to draw reasonable conclusions. It’s when we think we know more than we actually do that we’re most likely to judge others. The biggest danger is judging people who are more acquaintances than friends, or assessing situations in which we are dabblers, not experts.

Nothing is as it seems…so judge not, lest ye be judged.

Image Credits: (Blue Eyes) © JosefArt — Bigstock; (Crowd on Train) courtesy of Pixabay

Our (less than) Perfect Stories

(c) kaalimies DollarPhotoClub

In one of my favorite episodes of the television classic, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” neighbors Millie & Jerry are puzzling over why Rob (Dick Van Dyke) and Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) ruined their party.

“Sure they have their faults,” Millie says at one point. “Everybody does. People would be pretty dull without them.”

I like that thought. It’s forgiving and human. Yet it implies perfection of character is dull, and I challenge that. Of course to challenge it properly I’d have to define perfection and I’m not sure I can do that adequately.

I speak here of the everyday interactions of most people, not the extreme behavior of the handful who destroy without remorse. When it comes to truly evil behavior, I think we all can agree a little more perfection is desperately needed.

The devout will tell you perfection is our nature without sin, but when it comes right down to it, is sin black & white or does it come in shades of gray? Forget it, I’m not having that conversation.

To others being perfect means fitting a standard of beauty, intellect, achievement or the like, but that doesn’t address character. Something to consider if your definition includes being measured on a scale.

Still others will say being perfect is being complete, having the sum parts required for the whole. That’s a hard concept to grab hold of and make practical, and again, I’m not going there.

Here’s what this comes down to in day-to-day terms: Perfection seemingly wouldn’t create conflict, and conflict is needed for good storytelling. At their heart, most stories need to have a good guy and a bad guy. Some stories need a particularly fiendish bad guy.

We like our stories. It’s one way we know to distinguish and measure our lives against others. Therefore, we need our conflict, and in that way can grudgingly accept our imperfection.

How many of us have heard someone say, “I’d rather go to hell than to heaven; hell is going to be a lot more fun”?

I disagree. I don’t think perfection would be dull. I think it’s unknown.

All major religions seek God, seek perfection, yet at their heart recognize it won’t be found here on earth. So until we find that place where we are our perfect selves, I guess our faults are part of what make our story compelling.

This post is an updated version of a post originally published in May 2015.

Image credit: (dandelion) © kaalimies – DollarPhotoClub.com (background) © Amandee – Dreamstime.com

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