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Apologies October 27, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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So I found out today I’m glad I wasn’t a blogger back just a few years ago.  In 2008 I wrote a funny little thing and I pulled that out of the files today.  My writing style has grown; I’ve grown.  It was still funny, but I would change the way I said the things I said a little bit.

Have you ever written anything you regret letting the public see?  Ever written an apology?

Things change.  Seasons change.  People change.

The more I write, the more I read, the more I become sensitive to my audience.  And my potential audience.  It happens when I re-read what I wrote, as if I were in the audience.  I listen to the imaginary audience in my head now, something I wasn’t concerned with all that much, evidenced from this article from only 6 years ago.

My concern, my love, if you will, for my audience, has changed.  I want the audience to know I care about them.  I still like the unashamed fury, common sense and logic of people like the late George Carlin or Lewis Black, or the winky-winky-sweary brilliant comedy foolishness of (for now) Late-Late Craig Ferguson or the late Robin Williams.  But I said things in the article that I wouldn’t express the same way today.  The article was my reflections on how my wife does (and women in general do) things that I find annoying.  They were all true, all 12 of the things I listed.

It doesn’t change that I was speaking the truth.  But it does change that I wasn’t at the time exactly speaking the truth in love.   I like to write funny things.  Comedy has its place.  I like to include common sense and logic.  Logic has its place.  And truth is valuable as well.  But when you’re not speaking the truth in love, it frequently (in my case) comes out all wrong.  It can come across as hateful and mean and jealous and spiteful and add-your-negative-adjective-here.  I know and love a person who occasionally speaks the truth without regard for whether it’s loving.  I hate that.  It shuts me down.  There  is no possible positive response to just criticism.

People naturally notice what hasn’t been done, faster than they observe what you have done.  You can paint an entire house and leave one board not painted and that’s the one thing their eyes will notice.  You can answer a hundred calls a day in your job and the boss will notice the email you didn’t answer, or the one caller who didn’t get followed up on.  Everybody does it.  It doesn’t mean they hate you, but it certainly feels like it.  It doesn’t mean they are pulling a power play  to assert themselves over you, but it certainly feels like it (and occasionally I suspect it IS done with that kind of motive in mind).

The truth is, although I had a day off, I did not wash all of the dishes or do all of the laundr.  The truth in love is that I baked bread, cleaned the counters, washed most of the dishes, washed, dried, and folded a bunch of laundry, took out the trash, cleaned the guinea pig habitat, vacuumed the floor, straightened the living room, and cooked dinner, and I was exhausted.  The truth is, she doesn’t always do everything I want.  But the truth in love is, she made sure the kids caught the bus in the morning, worked hard all day at her day job, went to the doctor for tests on a sore knee, went to the store walking on said sore knee for milk and eggs, and she came home tired.

My friend Jerry would tell me, I finally got it.  He told me, long ago, to write it like Jesus would write it.  The answer is, maybe I get it.  But I’m still hung between two writing styles:  the one where you write the whole truth like everyone who cares about anything you say is dead, and the aforementioned, truth mixed with love.  I want a little of both.  But healthy relationships demand the truth with love, lest all of those negative feelings should surface.  I can speak the truth all day and only discourage the person listening, and change nothing except that person’s perception of me.  The truth in love, however, always helps people to grow.  “The truth,” God forbid “the whole truth,” and may it never be spoken, “nothing but the truth” usually only injures.  The truth only sets you free if you hold to Jesus’ teachings.

So, for those times when I have spoken the truth and discouraged others in the past, and for those times in the future when I know I will, I’m sorry.  Perhaps my readers will recall moments when they have spoken the truth without love and discouraged others, and go back to amend things.

Here for your amusement is all that is left of my funny little article from 2008, after the truth-in-love filter requirement has been met.  I rewrote it and left out everything that I felt wasn’t loving.  Alert readers may notice that just a few things have been omitted:

 

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Have a great day!

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