Monday, January 24, 2011

Adrienne, if I invite you to play your recorder at the National Symphony Orchestra performance, will you finally forgive me?

I really have no idea how to start this. I know the point that I want to make, but it's embedded in a story that's personal, one that makes me look bad, a story that I would like to rewrite. However, with Myndi's post on my mind - the point in particular about cultivating relationships - it's a story that I want to share with you.

Many posts ago I talked about my second grade sister wanting to sing the national anthem at my last high school basketball game. Upon finding out, I threw a fit that could've only been rivaled by one of the girls on Jersey Shore. I screamed about how badly Adrienne sang (and to my credit, she does:)). I complained that no one was "thinking about how I would feel" (that's right, I had a TOUGH life). I'm pretty sure that I threatened to be a no-show at the game (as though this would have been the make or break it for a win or loss;)). And to make it all worse, I said this in front of a seven year old.

I could blame it on being 17. I could justify it with statements like "maybe someone should've asked me first." I could lie and say that I wasn't as much of a b*^&% as the story, as told by Adrienne, makes me seem. But, the truth is, I was just wrong.

And, it is moments like this that are part and parcel of some of my biggest regrets; moments when I allowed my pride, my expectations, my own sense of "love" or "kindness" to cloud - or even worse, belittle - the actions of others; moments when my feelings became so much more important that anyone else's involved; moments when my visceral, knee-jerk reaction alienated someone who loved me; moments when I took relationships for granted.

The most recent example of this occurred about a month ago. Andy did something incredibly nice for me - something he spent a lot of time on, something he put a lot of thought into, something that should've immediately reminded me how lucky I am. What did I do with it, though? I squandered it. I picked up on the two or three things that I thought "didn't seem like me" and I let those drive my reaction to the whole. I nonchalantly addressed what was deserving of something so much more.

And, you know what, this is a moment that I can't get back. Sure, I can apologize. I can explain my position. I can elaborate on all of those things that I loved, but was too wrapped up in my own concerns to acknowledge. And, I can be forgiven and understood. However, none of this makes my initial apparent flippancy any less vivid or any more justified. I had the opportunity to cultivate a relationship, and I chose - and, this is always a choice - to demean instead.

So, I guess the point of me sharing this is to simply remind you to think about the motivations of someone's actions before immediately worrying about how it affects you. In both occasions I mention above, part of my issue was "I don't want to be in the spotlight/I don't want personal things exposed" - and I do see the hypocrisy in this by the way:) - and this blinding emotion tainted two really beautiful acts.

Let others love you, even if it looks a little different from your own understanding. Cultivate relationships every chance you get. Sometimes keep your big, fat mouth shut.
A resolution update: I said that I would read at least three works of fiction this year (most of you know how I feel about fiction). The library staff tried to pick
some out for me, but to no avail. Nothing just seemed to tickle my fancy.

But, then...

Cecil Hall Dyer returned a book last Saturday and, for no particular reason, I decided to flip through it. Linda Lael Miller's, A Creed Country Christmas, or as I have referred to it every time I try to remember the title, "Cowboy Christmas Love Story," really is something special. Yes, it was large print. Yes, I knew what was going to happen after reading about four pages. Yes, I'm fairly certain those incomplete sentences weren't solely for dramatic effect.
Yes, my fancy was tickled.

Nonetheless, I'm reverting back to my first love: Wendell Berry's Bringing It To The Table and Berry Craig's (who I hope to have speak at the Library this spring) True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics.


  1. You are right, Liza. I should have asked you first about the singing of "The National Anthem" by your baby sister. You see I tend to have knee-jerks moments as well. I am pretty sure she has forgiven you over that little incident, but by you inviting her to play the recorder with the National Orchstra only proves how apologetic you truly are. What would make her night even more special would be to invite her "hot" WKU professor to the performance. Hopefully she will be able to get through "Mary Had a Little Lamb" without freezing up which might give her closure for that other traumatic event in her life.

  2. I hope Andy's back to reading your blog. Although he's probably too busy these days, what with all that work he does on the farm.

    Love the way you've articulated these thoughts...and your sincere desire to make a change. I'll be mindful of your words in my day-to-day, too.

    Oh, and perfect title!

  3. Mom,
    I'm on it. Mr. Powell won't know what hit him.

    Oh, and perfect friend / friendship. I miss you!