There is a story that goes like this:
A man went to his doctor and said, "Doctor, I'm worried about my wife. She is losing her hearing and she won't admit to it. It's getting bad. How can I get her out of denial so she can get some real help?"
The doctor offered this advice: "Go home and when her back is to you, say her name quietly. Increase in volume until she answers back. This will give you some idea how bad the problem really is."
The man agreed the plan was brilliant and rushed home to his wife.
As luck would have it, when he opened the front door he could see his wife across the room doing the dishes. Her back was to him...it was perfect!
He started tentatively, "Honey, I'm home."
He took a few steps closer to her, and a little louder said, "Honey, I'm home."
A few steps closer and much louder now, "Honey, I'm home!"
He continued the pattern across the room. A few steps, a louder call out, and no response whatsoever from his wife.
Finally, He was right behind her, and with his head down, heartbroken for his dear wife, he could barely muster the strength to whisper, "Honey. I am home."
And at that moment his wife whipped around and said, "Yes, my dear. And for the tenth time...I KNOW!"
Sometimes it's hard to tell who has the problem. Sometimes the way we see things can be skewed.
Not everything is what it seems. We need to be more gentle with each other. There are a lot of lessons to this story, but the one that sticks out most to me is sometimes we see a person and their life/situation in a certain way...and we think we have them figured out, when in fact we have it all wrong.
Sometimes what we perceive isn't what is real. I'm sure many of you have perceptions about my life that are way off base. I'm sure I have perceptions about some of yours too.
Additionally, when we are brash with our opinions, and speak in a way discounting another's feelings...it just isn't right.
Can't we all be kinder? Can't we respect that we are different? Can't we understand that even though we feel strongly about something, someone else's feelings are just as strong...and more importantly...just as valid?
We all have the right to our own choices and paths.
When you are part of a family...a community...a friendship...nothing is worth losing those connections over. Pointing fingers never solves anything, because as my opening tale illustrates..there are always two (very valid) sides to every story.
Love is the common thread of humanity. Snipping that thread may condemn the person we are angry at, but it condemns us to a lonely life too. Everyone loses when forgiveness is held hostage.
Burning bridges can be important when escaping an abusive relationship...but otherwise it just gives our love more boundaries...
And really...'boundaries' and 'love' don't work well together at all.