Crossed Signals #sol18
December 4, 2018
There have been a lot of crossed signals lately. Misinterpreted words. Missed appointments. Strings of an adult game of telephone which never end well. Sometimes when we put our heads together, we just can’t get it together at all. It’s not to be avoided really… or is it? What would it take for us to really communicate, actually hear and respond in a way that is meaningful for all.
I heard your answer. You said, a miracle. Well, my friends, I think we can make one.
I’ll tell you a small fable. Spoiler alert, you must be over 5 feet tall and 21 years of age to read the next paragraph. Yesterday, this morning, or ten years ago, a child told a parent that a teacher let the cat out of the bag about you know who and you know what to a whole class. I mean that just takes the cake. Who did she think she was ruining our most precious national lie to a roomful of half believing nine year olds? This may or probably not actually happened. The child may or may not have had an alternative agenda. What I know for certain is… NO TEACHER WOULD EVER DO THAT EVEN ON HER WORST DAY… #justsaying
But this little story made me think of meetings where we can’t speak the same language (figuratively), moments where we all seemingly heard something to find we “heard” in several different ways. Those awful moments when you look into the face of your word recipient and know which a shadow of a doubt that you best intentions have gone awry.
Since we might be on the confession couch, I’ll admit that all of these things may have happened to me in a single day. Even cookies can’t cure that. But what pray tell, can?
So I go back to my s-a-n-t-a story. NO TEACHER (insert the word human here) WOULD EVER DO THAT EVEN ON HER WORST DAY. The unfortunate truth is much like my weight loss plan, wishing won’t make it so, we have to put in the really hard work of listening carefully, seeking to understand, then be understood. We can’t give up when communication doesn’t work or feelings are very, very sensitive.
I read this quote once: be kind. everyone is carrying a heavy burden. Today my burden feels heavy, but I personally know a LOT of people whose burden is crushing them flat right now. I just need to take a few things out of that burden. The first thing I’m going to take out is my prickly, hurt feelings. What a stinking waste of time! Then I’m going to take out all of the supposing and inferring I do about people’ motives and agendas and judgement. I feel lighter all ready.
I’m going to slip a few very light things into my burden. I’m going to slip a shiny sliver of patience along with a round ball of empathy. I might swallow a few word and up my smile sparkle… and I’m definitely going to bring cookies to the meeting.