Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Overheard

Photo from corbis.com

I overheard a conversation in the copy room at church last week.

It was between two women I do not know very well, but I could not help listening in as they spoke of another member of our congregation.

"She is just the sweetest lady you'll ever meet. So thoughtful and kind! She is always going out of her way to make people feel welcome in the neighborhood. And she is the greatest mom - I love watching her with her kids. She makes everything fun, even her food..."

I couldn't wait to hear who they were speaking of, although I had a pretty good idea of who it was. In fact, I had a great story of her kindness to add to their dialogue and so I made my presence known by stepping into the room.

"Well, here she is!" the one lady said to the other. "Have you met Gerb yet?"

What? I thought to myself. They were talking about me? I am the woman who makes everything from scratch? I am the person who goes out of my way to make others feel welcomed? I am the greatest mom? And so on, and so on. It was kind of overwhelming, to be honest. And it got me thinking about the whole situation for the rest of the day.

Here's what I realized: nobody's perfect, even if others think we are. We all have our faults, our weaknesses, our own little skeletons-in-the-closet. Yet many times we are the only ones who are aware of these flaws. Should we broadcast our personal failings and correct others who put us on a pedestal? I don't think so.

Why?

Because I know that others whom I admire have their own Achilles' heel(s) that I am unaware of. And you know what? I prefer the unknown.

Besides, the people I revere sure look great up on that pedestal.

7 comments:

Anaise said...

A. How lovely to overhear people who love you being loving about you.

B. I've been thinking a lot about the same thing, but I hadn't arrived at a conclusion yet. Your conclusion is nicer than the one I was headed toward--mine was an inclination to be frustrated by unfair expectations--perhaps I'll adopt yours. :)

Sister Pottymouth said...

I love this! I wish we could all see ourselves the way others see us (assuming that we would see the good stuff).

Gerb said...

Anaise-
A. Agreed.

B. I think I also feel that it's nice to know of some of a person's failings, but only because it makes them more human.

Sis P.-
I have this thought all the time when my kids are speaking well of a friend or church leader - wouldn't they love to hear how much they are looked up to?

Amy said...

Gerb, will you allow me to respectfully disagree? A true friend is some one who knows all of our dirty laundry and loves us anyway. I can always tell the people who don't know me by their opinions of me. If they think I'm perfect I know its only a surface friendship. If they know my idiosyncracies and still think I'm perfect because of my flaws, well, I've got a forever friend. I could write a whole book on this subject! lol. But! How cool that you overheard that conversation!!! And didn't you know that the rest of us have been saying the same things behind your back for years???

Teachinfourth said...

You know, I was going to write a post about this very thing...well, not exactly, but something similar.

Even with knowing the 'human' side of others, they can still be up on that pedestal.

Shellie said...

How sweet! It's funny you thiught you knew who they were talking about. Really, it means there's a lot of great people around! And having unflattering stuff about yourself doesn't make the good stuff any less good.

Gerb said...

Amy- I completely agree with that idea. However, it takes me a good, long time before I trust others enough to really open up and let them get to know the REAL me. I guess I have to know they'll like me no matter what before I reveal my secrets...

T5th- Write away! I'm sure your perspective on the idea would be a different angle than mine. I'd love to read it.

Shellie- Agreed, on all counts.