Accepting Others…Without An Agenda

The Daybed has arrived. Parker took one look at it and attempted to get on it. She is very pleased that her human family has purchased her a luxurious bed. We did not tell her that it was not for her. It is 64 degrees and sunny. Spring has come to Carbondale. One of the young men that was carrying in the mattress for the bed…hit our family portraits that are on the hallway wall adjacent to the bedroom the Daybed was placed in. He made no comment…while the lead delivery person attempted to set the paintings right…but was unable to do so. He laughed nervously. I was taken aback to my furniture delivery days, when I was no older than the delivery men in my house. I was the helper and worked with the store’s owner. We were extremely careful…and rarely if ever…knocked into walls or portraits or furniture. At times to not do so required herculean and time consuming efforts on our part.

It is easy to fall into the trap of expecting others to act in a situation as you believe that you would respond to under identical circumstances. How often have we been judgmental when one of our colleagues or friends or family do not seem to conduct themselves in the manner that we expected. We witness people who’s life experiences have left them down on their luck…and we wonder what character flaw caused them to be in such dire circumstances. A trusted ally and friend and fellow congregant leaves our church and we place our personal template on their actions and their life to determine why they are acting in the manner that they are. We wonder why more of our church family are not actively engaged in the missions of our church when the needs are in front of their eyes…yet we fail to ask them if they would help us in a worthy endeavor.

Judgment is easy…understanding is hard. When I was preparing to retire from my 32 + year career with Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, my Director Phil Gatton, wanted me to train my replacement for a period of 2 months prior to my leaving. I worked diligently to show my replacement my methodologies and protocols for management of our multi-million dollar operation. However, as I told a person at that time, it would be impossible for me to impart many of the attributes that are endemic to my personality and that served me well in critical negotiations with University Administration. In fact…I said that if my replacement would try to emulate my management style in toto that they might be in danger of being fired or at the least receiving results that were not desired.

We are as different as snowflakes…and we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Each of us are special and unique. There is only one of you!

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