I listened to one respond to congratulatory remarks with a sense of uncertainty about my reaction. As I searched to sense the positive, I wondered if I was reacting with bias for a particular style and key word content? I did now know if the anticipated emotions, body language, and words were as flat as I felt as I listened. My reaction in the moment was that this was as much my problem (biased expectations) as it was with anyone else.
I know there are those who enjoy the big show. In my mind, I hear their shouts echo as they paraphrase the psalmist; “Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he’s done – sing it out!” (Psalm 107.22) I also know that it is not a style that is embraced or even possible with everyone.
As I spoke later with the individual responding to the congratulations, I was struck by the depth of his emotions. It was helpful that he had taken advantage of time and processed the experience. His words were more articulate than the first time while still reflecting his meditative personality. I suspect it will take more time for him to complete the process of reflection. Only then will he be able to begin the journey to formulate the words to describe his experience to others.
I find myself revisiting my judgements in different situations. Did I reach a quick conclusion shaped by my bias and expectations? If so, are their reminders that can help me control the risk of a repeat?
Yes and yes.
Every reaction is just that, a reaction. There is no right or wrong. It just is. Giving each other the freedom to express their emotions in their own way is a gift of respect and honor.
Everyone has a story. Their experiences are paragraphs and chapters. Am I willing to dig into the story to discover the story within the story with its nuances and insights?
Truth and good always reaches the heart, even if we do not see the touch moment. Trust the process and believe.