Cherry and I recently took the dogs for a walk. While Cherry takes Mollie on a daily walk, it is unusual for Charlie and I to join them. Given the differences in size and personality between a Ridgeback and a Chihuahua, there is a traditional perception that I should take Mollie while Cherry takes Charlie. We do not follow tradition! Cherry has a good handle on Mollie, so she is in charge. Charlie and I enjoy walking together, so it works.
The scene is unusual enough that it often catches the attention of those we pass. Their faces are a mixture of amusement, questions, and obvious conclusions. Since we know the truth, we often let the observations be as they are.
I do wonder how far the impressions in my life extend. Am I caught in a situation like others before me? As an example, after being part of a miracle the crowd reacted to the two key figures. “When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, ‘What do you think you're doing! We're not gods!’” (Acts 14.14) This mistake was an honest one made by people that thought they understood.
Life is filled with routines and habit. They can be as simple as walking the dog, driving the car, or going to the store. People see us and draw conclusions. While many are valid, they are not always right. While some are harmless, others are not.
While I am not willing to let my life be driven by how others perceive me, I do care about the impressions I leave. In my life, I find the following guidelines help.
Being in a position to act coherently is always better than not. This includes taking care of my physical body as well as my mind.
Acting with intent is preferred to simply reacting. When I drive with care and concern, I am a better driver.
Being aware of my actions and the consequences that follow gives me a change to make amends.