Perception

Perception is everything. While preparing for a weekend away without our two children ages 2 years and 10 months, I decided to be proactive and get them all packed for a 4-day stay at Nana’s house, two days before they had to leave. I stuffed a dozen tiny pairs of socks, a dozen Lilliputian pairs of jeans, a pink, frilly Sunday dress, as many clean shirts as I could manage to find, and two full packages of diapers into the biggest suitcase we own. And when it was over, the kids were still napping, so I packed my own things in an overnight bag and tossed it at the foot of the bed. When my husband got home I proudly announced that the three of us were all packed up. He looked at the bed and said, “We need to discuss your idea of packing for a weekend. There is no way you need that much stuff for two nights.” Feeling slighted, I let it pass with an “I was pretty proud of myself.” I went to bed feeling just a little irritated at his unreasonable attitude. Just because all he packed was an extra shirt and deodorant didn’t mean that was all I needed.
The next morning he called on the way to work, and brought it up again. This time he offered to help me pack, to show me why I didn’t need such a big bag. By this point I’ve been stewing on this undeserved censure for about 12 hours, and I decided to stick up for myself. 
 
“I thought I did really well. I didn’t pack anything I didn’t need for the weekend, and it’s all my toiletries, too.” 
 
“That’s one of the biggest bags in the house! Don’t you have a green overnight bag?”
 
Silence. Wheels turning. “Yeeeeesssss…”
 
“You should be able to fit everything you need into that.”
 
Silence again. Lightbulb.
 
“Honey, I DID use the green bag. The big blue one is for both kids, complete with diapers, for four days.”
 
Silence. 
 
I giggled. “You really thought I used that giant suitcase for a weekend?”
 
He snickered, “Well, what was I supposed to think? It was laying in the middle of the bed!” 
 
We both had a good laugh over the misunderstanding, but it occurred to me afterward that these types of miscommunications might happen every day; in our marriage, with our kids or coworkers, or in our church families. It was a good reminder for me to see things from someone else’s perspective before I assume they are judging me unjustly. And perhaps before judging them, as well. 
 
 
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