Friday, October 18, 2019
Have you ever been stood up? You’re waiting and your friend doesn’t show. “Did I get the wrong day, time, or location?” I check our correspondence and it’s all clear. When I try to reach her, there’s no answer. I begin to worry. “Why aren’t I hearing from her? Is she okay? What if something happened?” Then comes insecurity. “Did she really not want to see me? Am I not important enough for her to remember our date?” Then I get mad, because “I know I’m worthy of love, friendship and belonging, and how dare she do this?!!!”
Finally, sanity prevails. I go back to something I learned in Marriage 101 (which applies to any relationship): “Assume Good Will.” Assume there is a valid reason why my friend was unable to meet me. Assume something prevented her from letting me know. She’s doing her best but couldn’t make it. Check with her later. Extend grace, and make the best of some unexpected free time.
But yesterday, I was the one who erred. I was the one who stood up a long-time friend. She’s a kind, intelligent, interesting person and I cherish our visits but I missed our date completely. We hadn’t seen each other in months and I was really looking forward to it. But I didn’t show.
I felt like a total schmuck. I needed my friend to assume good will. If she could understand, would she still love me? I wasn’t in a position to give her a full explanation. Text messages are not the place for that. Most “reasons” simply end up sounding like excuses.
But even without knowing why, my friend decided to give me another chance and we rebooked. For this I am so grateful. Every relationship requires give-and-take. Assuming good will. Forgiveness. Second chances.
And for me? I apologize. Explain if possible. Then let it go. Don’t beat myself up. Shame cripples. Don’t beat others up, either, when they do it to me (not even silently in my own head). Resentment kills.
Here's something to chew on: Must you understand before you can love? Does understanding always result in love?
What I have come to know is this: Love is a choice. Love precedes understanding. Sometimes, love shines brightest after a misunderstanding. Love does not depend on fully understanding but love will always seek to understand.