Saturday, February 5, 2011

Instead of judging...

Have you met Gladys yet?

I bought Gladys last summer on Ebay, when I was creating that deck chair for the lawn chair exhibit.  I photographed her on a webbed chair, in the grass, and then printed the photo on canvas and suspended it in one of those old-fashioned deck chairs...

Anyway, the thing with full-size mannequins is, they take up space -- wherever they stand.  So Gladys has been living in a little-used corner of our living room since her deck chair debut.  And when winter came we decided to dress her in warmer clothes.

But we've grown used to her -- we don't really notice she's there -- so we're always a little surprised when new people come into the house and sort of reel back in shock.  I mean, well -- she's Gladys.  She's part of the family now.  She belongs.

But I found this photo today and decided to put it up (warning, this is not one of my usual morning blog posts, just something I heard that I wanted to pass on) because we were driving home from my talk at Seattle U (yes, it went WONDERFULLY: Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers) and we were remarking on one of the lectures we heard, noticing that we'd both projected negative thoughts onto the speaker until she spoke, and I just had to share this comment I heard from one of the students in my metaphor class at Antioch yesterday. 

It was Joey, a young man from Jersey, handsome, athletic, with a big booming voice that reminds me SO much of my Uncle Bob (also from Jersey) that I always have to smile when he talks.  And Joey said this -- I could hear him way on the other side of the room during one of our breakout sessions --  "You just have to ask: 'What is it about that person that I just don't like in me?' "

Isn't that a great line?

So if I look at Gladys -- or anyone else for that matter -- really look at her, and think, hmm, not sure I like that about her, it's a pretty good bet that what's putting me off is something I don't like in ME.

Yeah, I know, you've heard it all before.  But this is just a reminder -- having just made that mistake AGAIN -- that you should maybe be wary when your mind starts judging.

And here's the best part.  I told my husband this story, and he said, "Well, you know what I say: I just assume everyone I talk to is God."

"No,"I replied, "you never told me that."

"Oh," he said, "I just thought you knew.  It's kind of like that line from the Bible -- you know, doing it to the least of these is doing it to me?  I just think, this guy could be God; could be he's having a bad day, or testing me or something."

Wow.  No wonder I'm still married to this man after all these years...


Maureen said...

Oh, this post brought on the smiles.

It's odd but just the other day I was thinking of Gladys, not recalling that was her name, and so she pops up tres chic. What a riot to keep her where she can overhead your party guests and always keep mum.

Your husband's line is brilliant.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Great line. There's a woman who's weaving in and out of my life these days ... on the fringes but enough that my spine reacts like fingernails on a chalkboard when I see or hear her. I keep saying "She's an angel with a lesson for me." So far I keep responding, "I don't want it." Maybe your post will help. Maybe.

Louise Gallagher said...

I love your husband's line. Brilliant.

And what Joyceann said -- brilliant too!

I work with someone for whom I am going to start saying -- "He's an angel with a lesson for me."

Sometimes -- that lesson is to be more compassionate and embrace the rough spots with love to smooth them out.

Gberger said...

This is one of the single most intelligent, Christian and pragmatic approaches to living that I've ever heard. Yes, I'd say you were blessed to be led to marry this inspired man!