My intentions for this evening were to finish a post I began last night in response to watching Once on Saturday night with the hubby. I spent the first part of my evening arguing with my daughter and the second part of my evening doing damage repair instead. Now, it’s after 11:00 and my head is spinning and I’m uncertain where to go with those thoughts, if anywhere.
We are such complicated creatures. We jump to conclusions and make assumptions and base our actions and responses on what we often think is true rather than what is true. We misunderstand one another and we misinterpret one another and we mistake sympathy for understanding and truth for judgment and agreement for acceptance and correction for rebuke. Every one of us. Not a one is immune.
I want my daughter to understand this. I want her to realize that feeling things are a certain way doesn’t mean they really are. I want her to grasp that sometimes our assumptions and interpretations are wrong–that we don’t always really know what the other person is thinking. And I want her to get that the other person is most often not really thinking anything near as bad as we think they are. I didn’t learn these lessons–I didn’t even begin studying them–until well into young adulthood. The learning curve was steep and my ignorance cost me–and those I loved–dearly. I want better for her.
But I don’t know how to get her there.
She is young. She is hormonal. She is tired. She is emotional. I know this. I know these things breed irrationality. And I know that once we’ve reached irrational, we need to back off until some semblance of sanity has been restored. For both of us.
What I don’t know how to do is to speak her language. Somewhere between twelve and forty I’ve unlearned the language of adolescence. I’ve lost the ability to speak what she needs to hear in the manner in which she needs to hear it. I say one thing, and she hears something else. I try it a different way, yet she still hears the same thing. She hears what she wants to hear, be it positive or negative, as if her filter translates every adult word out of my mouth with the same message over and over.
I want her to hear that I am for her, not against her. That I am trying to help her, not tear her down. That I do understand what she’s saying, even if I disagree and point out the other side. That I love and respect her–but that I love and respect her enough to say hard things sometimes, because I know she can handle it.
I want her to trust me. To trust these things, and to not assume the worst. To know in her spirit that these things are true, even when I disagree or correct her or speak the truth in love. I thought I had developed our relationship to that place.
I guess I still have some work to do.
“I need you to say something positive first, when I’ve done something wrong–I need you to acknowledge I’ve done the right thing by talking to you and to tell me it’s going to be okay.” I can work on this. I will work on this. Because I get this, and because I need it, too.
But there will still be moments of truth. Of correction. Of pointing out the stinkin’ in her thinkin’.
It is only God’s grace that balances the two. It is only the of conviction God that enables me to step back and worry more about hearing her than about her hearing me. It is only God’s wisdom that can direct my steps and guide my words and translate them to her brain. And it is only the love of God that can penetrate our hearts and help us to love one another well, trusting that we are for one another, not against one another.
And it is only the peace that passes all understanding that will sustain us both through these next several years…
All was resolved before the proverbial sun went down. But that doesn’t mean all has been repaired or reprogrammed. We still have a long way to go. But we’ve gone as far as we’re going to get tonight.
Now, we sleep in peace, reassured that the greatest of these is love. And we look toward tomorrow with the hope that, God-willing, we do this just a little bit better the next time.
The greatest of these is love.
Lord, help me to speak the truth, in love.