Last week, I asked my talented son-in-law to perform a miracle. With my forty year high school reunion looming, I asked him to make me look twenty-eight years old once again. In spite of his ranking as a high-end hair stylist, however, he found the task beyond his capability. (Do you think I was asking too much?)
Honestly, he did a great job (per usual) and made me look a very respectable fifty-eight. He had worked me into his already-full work schedule. Because he and our daughter are in the process of moving, he had to bring his tools and the children (and the diapers, and the bottles, and the blankets, and the toys!) to our house to do the color, clip, and style.
As things were moving splendidly along, I spotted something on my kitchen table that puzzled me: a yellow school bus. With the addition of five grandchildren to our lives during the past three years, lots of surprising items have been showing up. In lots of surprising places. But I just didn’t remember that bus.
I continued to squint and stare at it each time Tyler spun me around in the chair. I finally mentioned it to him. We both chuckled when he explained to me it was two yellow and black boxes of hair color stacked in the shape of what appeared to my unspectacled eyes to be a school bus. He graciously admitted he could “kind of see what I was talking about.”
Later I recalled how absolutely certain I was that I saw a toy bus. Things like that have happened before. You’ve probably experienced it.
For example, years ago, I was trying to surprise a friend with a baby shower. We agreed the men would slip out after our church dinner, leaving only the ladies in the church basement. Several of the men evidently had forgotten to disappear. In trying to discreetly remind them, I mentioned it sounded as if there were still men in the room. They quickly deciphered my hint and left.
The ladies seemed to enjoy the festivities that followed, and I left feeling satisfied all had gone well.
Fast forward several years. During a normal conversation one afternoon, a friend admitted to me I had inadvertently insulted the “guest of honor” at the party that afternoon. Flabbergasted, I questioned her as to what I’d done. Her answer floored me: “She thought you said she sounded like a man.”
Evidently, while trying to dismiss the gentlemen, I hadn’t noticed I was standing next to the mother-to-be. Because she didn’t realize what I was doing, her hormonally-charged eardrums heard my statement as a derogatory remark. In trying to honor her, I had hurt her feelings. I felt horrible. Thankfully, we laugh about the misinterpretation now.
When my eyes “saw” a school bus last week, I remembered how her ears had “heard” a criticism. My conclusion? We cannot always trust our senses. They make mistakes.
I began considering how similar situations arise each day at home, at work, and at church. Do I make wrong assumptions?
All the time!
I allow my limited senses and understanding of a situation to draw me to a wrong conclusion. I then wind up with hurt feelings, a grudging spirit, or discouragement. And, silly me! It’s pointless!
As my husband and I realize we are no longer twenty-eight, we’re learning to rigorously guard against assumptions in our relationship. After all, our ears don’t work as well as they did, um, forty years ago. Most of the time, we wind up laughing over what we thought the other said.
Other times, I deal with reacting to what I assume the words or actions mean. I wrongly react to inflections in tone, gestures, or facial expressions. If I’m not careful, I can even misinterpret a glance or laugh clear across the room! (Please tell me I’m not the only one with this ridiculous super-power.)
God alone is omniscient. Because He knows and perfectly understands all things, He needs no guard upon His “imagination.” I, however, need a zip-tie on mine! I’m slowly learning to seek clarification before I choose my reaction.
After all, things are not always as they appear. (Even school buses . . . or my hair color!!!)
“Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not
what to do in the end.” Proverbs 25:8