Thursday, January 10, 2013

YOU NEVER KNOW

Do you watch Parenthood?  John and I have really enjoyed the show, watching the first three seasons on Netflix throughout last year, and we are finally catching up to the current season on our DVR.  Spoiler alert - if you want to watch it, and you aren't current, know that I may spill a few beans in this post.  Also - we are not quite up to date - we have about 3 episodes left to be totally caught up, so don't tell me anything that happens.  I hate knowing stuff ahead of time, and then I try to pretend like I don't know it so I can enjoy it still, but in the back of my head, I really do know.  So, please spare me those mental gymnastics.

lg_slide_ph_family

source: Lauren-online

That said, this season has been intense and, at times, hard to watch.  One of the shows main characters is diagnosed with cancer, and after having one of my own family members die of cancer, it is a hard storyline to enjoy.  In my opinion, the show has nailed the experience in many real ways.  (It's actually made me consider writing a mini-series on that experience in my own life, especially since it's been 10 years since my dad died.)

One of the things that has resonated with me is the tension involved in knowing when to tell which people what.  I was often an emotional wreck when my dad had cancer, and when people knew about what was going on, it often gave them a liberty to ask me probing questions at inopportune times, like when I was in line for food in the cafeteria.  So, sometimes it was easier to just not tell people.  With cancer especially, people tend to react strongly.  However, then I wrestled with the reality that I might be acting off, and there is a very valid explanation for that.  Should I share?  How much?  When?

I certainly don't have all the answers to those questions, but something I thought of over and over again when my dad was dying is the fact that people carry really hard things with them all the time, and you often have no idea where they are coming from.  I remember eating out at a restaurant the evening of the day that my father died, and it occurred to me that our waiter would have no idea the emotions at our table.  No one acted out, though it should be mentioned that my grandmother did get sick of wearing her bra and manage to take it off *discreetly* (still not sure how that happened) and stick it in her purse.  She went on to tell John (who I was not even dating yet) and I this, and when we laughed and teased her, she told John she would "whip him" if he got out of line.  I miss her, too.

The fact that you never really know hit me again at church a while back.  I was talking with a woman that I know a bit, and she shared some of the things that had gone on in their family.  Some of what she told me explained a lot about what I had observed.  I wish I could say that I was always full of grace in my observations, but the reality is that I had made judgement calls on my very limited knowledge.  It is never my place to judge, even if I feel like I know what is going on, but especially when I really have no idea.

The verses I have been memorizing are from Luke 6:37-38 (NASB) "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. And do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Pardon, and you will be pardoned.  Give, and it will be given to you.  They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together and running over.  For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

I want my standard of measure to be gracious in the extreme.  I want to let God be the judge of people and know in my heart that he ultimately loves them all and wants their good.  I want a compassionate heart that recognizes that I usually don't have a good picture of what causes people to act the ways that they do.  Because, you never know.

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