Sunday, June 16, 2019

Here Comes the Judge

I haven't made it a habit in my life to use the phrase, "Don't judge me," and I don't plan to start.  But, that doesn't mean that I haven't judged others and it doesn't mean that they haven't judged me either.  There is something perplexing to me about the word judgment and how throughout my life I have heard it from a religious perspective, which is a bible verse that says, "Judge not, unless ye be judged."  Even outside of a religious context, it seems like common sense that we would all take that as don't be so hard on everybody else and worried about what everybody else is doing wrong..... the world would be much better if we worked on fixing our own faults.  (I'm not talking about breaking laws.)

However, if we look at the definition of the word "judge" it is to "form an opinion or conclusion about."    This seems like a reasonable thing for us human beings to practice,  so why is it bad to judge one another?  We have to make decisions about laws, morality, honesty, etc.  So if someone lies a lot, I am not supposed to say, "You're a liar" because that is coming to the conclusion that someone is, in fact, a liar.... ??!!

Exhibit A:  The "news" on any channel whether leaning left, right, or central would last about 10 minutes a day if they all had to just announce the facts of the day.  Who said what, who did what, but giving no opinion on it at all -- that would put an immediate end to the 24/7 news cycle and maybe it should. 

Whether or not we like Exhibit A is our choice what to do with it.  I do watch the news and I am a part of the speculation, but I am also part of the crowd that is saying, "Hey, this is wrong because we need to treat each other like human beings."  And I guarantee you there will be people who say, "Well, you're judging me/him/her, and that's wrong."  I'm not sure there is any winning such an argument.

Exhibit B:  the weather report.  I believe that all weather reports should take place in the past tense only and here's why.  They don't get their predictions correct on the precipitation most of the time and it very much screws up my plans for fishing!  So just tell me how much it rained after it rains.  Stick with the facts and stop with the guessing, except if severe weather is coming, then absolutely give me a shout out . I'll be grateful for my life if you're right and I won't be mad at all if you're wrong!!

Here is what I sometimes grapple with, and for lack of a better phrase, I'll just call it "reverse judgement."   Why can't I say that something makes me uncomfortable?  Why have I taken flak for saying, "I do not want to know what they're doing over at XYZ because I don't like the way it makes me feel."  I'm not going around announcing to them that they can't do whatever it is that makes me feel a little bit funny.  I'm sure some things I do would make lots of people uncomfortable.  I'm also fairly certain that if I knew this, I either don't share it, or I don't hang around them if it is something that really means a lot to me.

As long as you're not breaking any laws......and if you are, don't tell me!  Even then,  I'm not a prosecuting attorney, so I'm not investigating anyone!  Although I can't say with complete certainty that I won't be in the jury pool or that you won't ever be in mine should I go down the wrong path in life.......... But, in both of those cases, it is our job to judge.......isn't it?

So what's the difference between judgment and judging? 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What I Know for Sure

There are only a handful of things that I am sure of in this life, and the rest is just some variation of an educated guess.  I'm sure of my love for my husband and his for me.  I'm sure that even though we married young, the timing was perfect for us.  My opinion and my feelings about anyone else's relationships other than my own don't really matter, but upon our visit with Jack and Meredith, I am sure of their love for one another and that their love is unique.

Mixed emotions have me by the heart as Storm and I fly home from meeting dear friends across the country for the very first time.  Part of me feels sad that we had to say goodbye, but I held it together until we got in the airport.  During our sweet  departure among the four of us, I forgot to say "I love you" to Meredith as we hugged goodbye, but I was so VERY focused on  NOT crying in front of her.  Why?  Probably pride and I don't want anyone to think that I don't want to return to my own home sweet home that is X amount of states away from Jack's and Meredith's.  Well, how many tissues have you gone through, Windy?  More than Storm used on the entire flight on the way here last week when he had a horrible head cold!  And, no, I don't want the flight attendant looking at me like I am crazy, so Storm please order me some coffee.  And pass that Beechers' cheese tray, thank you very much!  It goes nicely with salty tears.

So back to the why's.......... Because I absolutely refuse to make light of what this trip means to me.  It is more than meeting sweet friends and spending time with them, although that is the heart of it. They are both wonderful cooks from the choosing of the ingredients to the scents during preparation and the colorful, mouthwatering presentation of each meal.  And the cookies! Good God Almighty.  But, they weren't just feeding our tummies....... this entire trip fed our souls.

In healthy marriages, spouses take care of one another....... that is what Storm and I do and that is what Jack and Meredith do.  But, perhaps one of the biggest things that just struck me right in the heart is that Jack and Meredith took care of us. I know how I felt on the inside, but I could actually see how Storm was feeling.  You all know that he is very calm in general, but what I saw was that he was physically relaxed, enjoying himself as he got to know Jack and Meredith, not a care in the world (other than fixing Meredith's computer) as they spoiled him and me!  The stories, the personal tours, the generosity, the COOKIES, the wise advice, the golfing, the long, smooth car drives that carefully cradled susceptible-to--motion-sickness gals like me and Mere.  Nobody tell Uber about Jack's wonderful driving -- they will try to recruit him to run the whole operation and while I am completely certain that he would master that situation in no time, the man has some major golf to play!  Storm and I would definitely give the whole  experience with them in their lovely home a full 5 star rating.

So what other reason for my crying on the plane?  The saying "yes" to Meredith's invitation was easy, but the significance of the whole trip -- the before, the during, and the after began to wash over me in waves.  And so I cry.  It involved a personal challenge of mine to face, to power through, and to overcome and it is one that I would have NEVER taken on had the motivation to spend time in person with Meredith not been so very important to me.

Many of you know her and love her as I do. So, why write a post about meeting up as it might make others feel bad who haven't yet had the chance of meeting their online friends?  My answer is that my blog is about my experiences just as yours is about your own.  My blog exists for me to express myself as I encounter the triumphs and the failures of TTWD and a few personal topics, sometimes funny, sometimes sentimental.  It would actually feel dishonest of me not to share here a few elements of a wonderful event involving the very person who brought me here to blog land.

This next aspect of our trip wasn't a surprise so much as it just felt like a sweet blessing.  Storm and Jack got along very well, which is pretty cool for never having met one another.  Storm doesn't go out of his way to be around many people , but he truly enjoyed all things Jack related.  In addition to this, was the comfort that I felt with Jack.  I have not traditionally cared much for many of my friends' husbands over the years, so it was a delight to get to know Jack as he patiently re-explained things to me that I did not understand the first time around.  He let me watch him cook and I loved that!  One thing I want to take home with me is the way in which Jack operates his kitchen.  He gets many things done, but he isn't hurried or stressed and all that leads to a wonderful atmosphere of dining together. That is definitely something I will strive to emulate for Storm and for future company.

I would officially like to announce that the Loganberry pie alone could have gotten me on an airplane for the first time in ten years.  Following Meredith's favorite pick for dessert was a no brainer.  After all, I like her very much and if she loves Loganberry pie, then she is what she eats, so how could I go wrong with all that zippy sweetness?

Back to the why of crying on that airplane ride home.  Meredith knows some things about me that I don't share on the blog or only in limited detail because, well it's private and way too personal. These things, while not really my fault, are negatives in my life.  It is always a risk to share this with a friend, new or old because it puts me in a very vulnerable position.  It requires compassion, acknowledgement, understanding, acceptance, and accommodation by the person receiving this information about me.  Meredith excelled in all these areas as I so hoped she would, but you don't just know something like that until you put all your cards on the table........ although be careful when Jack and Meredith teach you how to play cards..... she took a not-so-secret liking to peeking at my cards, which may or may not have led to an addition to her "scorecard" of which Jack keeps track!  And, no, she wasn't cheating.  She was "helping" me.  Laughing..........

Obviously this was our first time meeting another TTWD couple, but neither Storm nor I was paying attention to that on purpose because no one should be made to feel that they are under a microscope in their own home, which is quite lovely, by the way.  However, we are neither blind nor stupid, so yes we notice the little things.  Much to my amusement a couple of times when Meredith spoke, Jack made a facial expression that almost made me burst into laughter because it is one I have made myself after reading one of her comments in an email or two.

Storm did fix Meredith's computer, but it took several times in one evening for me to try to get her to relax about him helping her on his vacation time.  I did the best I could to reassure her that he honestly wanted to help her and he didn't mind, but it wasn't until I came down for coffee in the morning to find Storm and Meredith sitting at the kitchen table chatting away like old friends while Storm had 3 computers in front of him.  Somehow he must have put her mind at ease on the computer matter although I suspect early morning cookies had something to do with it.  I do hope she knows that the computer problem would have been solved sooner had she stopped fretting and trying to put a time limit on how long Storm was or wan't allowed to work on it.   Laughing.

Meredith is a hard sell sometimes.  I also had to do some patient talking with her in order to get her to trust me to take her on a short fishing expedition.  It was all over her face that she wasn't convinced that this was a worthwhile activity for us to do while the guys went golfing.  But, FINALLY, once she got the hang of it, she was fully on board, and she caught much higher quality of fish than even I did. This thrilled her to no end to beat me at my own game, and we shared lots of laughs.  Thank you Meredith  for trusting me (eventually!)

When it comes to Meredith wanting me to do something, however, I am an easy sell. (Loganberry pie example #1).  I don't think I said no to much that she suggested and I know I absolutely shocked her with one of my "yeses."  The look on her face was priceless and so were the surprised and amused looks on our husbands' faces when we informed them of what we had done while they were out golfing.  And, no, we are not telling except to say that the guys did not have to bail us out of jail.  This time.  And I'm fairly certain it isn't illegal in her state, but I'm not so sure about mine!!

So this vacation was about a lot of "yeses", first times, and first-times-in-a-very-long-time for Storm and me.  We all pass milestones and jump hurdles, but we mostly celebrate those kinds of things with close family.  Last week, with Storm beside me, I did just that with the support and encouragement of two very special people.

There are only a handful of things that I am sure of in this life, and the rest is just some variation of an educated guess.  I know for sure that our visit with Jack and Meredith was one of those things that was truly meant to be.  Not by magic and not without effort on everyone's part, but with some open-mindedness, some taking chances, some courage, some patience, some faith, some trust, some generosity, and some love among friends.  I know that for sure.