Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Devil Is in the Interpolation

I took down a post from earlier this week. It's the first time I've felt obliged to do this in the history of my blog. What I posted probably shared a bit too much about the inner workings of our family to be appropriate. Blogs can be dangerous that way, and I'll try to be more sensitive to that in the future. But the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what I shared was not the immediate catalyst in taking it down.

A friend read the post, and though it had nothing to do with him at all, he took it very personally in a way I never would have dreamed possible, and followed up by sending an email full of venomous personal attacks. I'm still reeling from this... Spent most of last night feeling heartbroken and sick to my stomach. Partly because this came so suddenly out of the blue. One minute I thought we were friends, the next minute this blindsiding attack. I took the post down because suddenly I felt terribly vulnerable, and I felt I had opened my family up to something it is really my obligation to protect them from.

I replaced the post I took down with another post on our anticipated reunion with family. With hindsight, I realized the post about our unknown family in Memphis is also about our known and loved family and friends in Minneapolis (among whom I still count the friend in question).

I'm trying to let go of my interpolations of what other people say to me. Especially when I'm feeling down and wounded. I think that's partly what I was writing about in my last post when I discussed the "expectations" we might bring to our encounters with family. Göran said something last night that felt insensitive and inconsiderate. And then later I realized it wasn't so much. That wasn't how he had intended it. And I realized, the Devil is in the interpolation. That's how our imperfect attempts to communicate get twisted into offense and contention and hate.

God, on the other hand, is in second chances.


Beck said...

"...our imperfect attempts to communicate get twisted into offense and contention and hate..."

It's a lot easier to misinterpret intent and to take offense than it is to truly listen and understand. I know I'm guilty of taking offense first and then regretting it later. The pain and effort and lost time and hurt feelings and regret and recovery time etc. are so much more a waste of time and effort than the original offense took.

It's not worth it. It's just easy.

J G-W said...

You're right, it is easy.

Fortunately, this friend and I were able to sort things out by email. I was able to learn exactly what it was I had said in my post that set him off and why. After some back and forth by email, we eventually came to a positive resolution, which was a big relief to me.

So I stick by the hope/affirmation I made in my original post... Second chances are a good thing!