Monday, September 29, 2014

Rumor Has It

Monday, September 29, 2014

The summer between my sophomore and junior year in college, I lived in a big old house on 16th Street in La Crosse.  It was divided into two "apartments," as it had full kitchens on both levels.  We all lived in it as one big house though.  It was full of bats and centipedes, and we figured we would all enjoy all of our furry friends together.  (Excuse me a moment, as I recover from my skin crawling.  It's been over 20 years, and I still haven't gotten over it.)
At the beginning of that summer, I was single.  I'm not sure if it was "blissfully" single....but it was definitely single.  I have to admit, I wasn't very good at being a single girl.  I hadn't learned how to enjoy my own company I got lonely really quickly.  I don't think I was capable of eating in a restaurant alone until I was 30.  Luckily, I was involved in theater, and I played in a band, so my evenings were always filled with something to do.  During this time, I noticed a boy/man starting to take some interest in me.  I'm not sure that he had earned the title of "man" at this point.  I shall henceforth refer to him as "guy."  Our paths had often crossed through mutual friends, and we had always been somewhat flirtatious with one another.  You should probably take into account that this occurred in the olden days, before cell phones and internet, so the only way to communicate was to actually call each other on the TELEPHONE, or leave it to fate and hope your paths would cross.
Well, he started stopping by my bat house in the afternoons.  I found this a little odd, since callers who wanted to woo young ladies would typically stop over in the evening, and attempt this crazy thing called a "date."  Yeah, that never happened.  Anyway, whenever he would come over, I'd say "what do you want to do?"  I don't recall him saying much...but if I would do something like turn on the TV, he would usually leave within 5 minutes.  This was the strangest "relationship?" I had ever been in.  As the days went by, I noticed that he DID have a goal.  It had nothing to do with getting to know me.  Let me rephrase that.  It had nothing to do with getting to know my personality.  Since subtlety IS my specialty, I will state it this way.  If the TV had been located in my bedroom, it is very likely he would have chosen to stay for longer than 5 minutes.  Thank God it wasn't.  Once this became blatantly obvious, my interest in trying to figure out this guy ended.  Abruptly.  Seriously dude?! gets better.  About a week later, I ran into him downtown.  With his GIRLFRIEND.  (And I knew her.)  Now it all made sense.  This is why he came by in the afternoon. (She was probably still at work.  He wasn't that ambitious....he didn't work.) This is why he had zero interest in having a conversation or just hanging out.  I was to be his conquest.  Why? I have no idea.  All I knew was that I was thoroughly disgusted, and had lost ALL respect for this guy.  And that disgust lingers today.  And guess what....that sweet, pretty girl married him. 
The reason I bring this story up?  Well, I have steered clear of this guy's life, even though we have several mutual friends.  I have no idea what kind of husband or father he is.  I hope the best for his wife and kids.  Sadly, my opinion of him has not improved.  It would appear that perhaps, since he is no longer able to chase after his potential conquests, he now choses to stir up trouble for others instead.  I know, because he did it to me.  Yep.  A friend of mine offered to walk me and my kids to our car one night when there were a lot of people out, and many had been drinking.  I thought it was a chivalrous gesture, and accepted.  That guy saw us walking together, and a rumor began.

I will not pretend that I am not judgmental.  If you wear leggings as pants...and your top does not cover your butt...I will JUDGE YOU LIKE CRAZY!  If your 18 month old has a bottle filled with pepsi hanging out of her mouth, I will probably be inclined to judge you.  If you do ANYTHING mean or hurtful to an animal or child...I will not only judge you...but I will probably go ballistic on you, and it's going to get really ugly.  Consider yourself warned.
However, when it comes to your private life.....I will NEVER judge you.  There is nothing that bothers me more than when people make assumptions, gossip, spread rumors, or stick their noses into other people's personal business.  How can anyone pretend to know what is going on in another person's home or in their heart?  
I think we all become very good at outside appearances.  We look like we have everything together.  We present our very best for the world to see.  We smile, our children behave (on good days) and look adorable (on good days), and our marriages appear to be loving and enviable.  The world would be a beautiful place if that were actually the case for everyone.  You have to wonder how many of those pretty, smiling moms are just holding it all in until they finally get to their car, so they can let go of the tears they have been choking back for the past hour.  Or how many of those married couples get in that car, without saying a word to each other all the way home, only to retreat to their separate bedrooms for the night.  None of us can know what it is like to walk in anothers' shoes.  None of us has the right to make the assumption that we do.  I think of all the people I know who have been hurt because of the cruelty of others.  Other people who somehow allow themselves the right to interject themselves into a situation they know nothing about.  People who see what they want to see, and create a false story around it.  People who perhaps have become bored with their own lives, and instead, feel the need to force themselves into the lives of others.
How do we know?  I remember getting a letter from my aunt telling me my cousin was getting a divorce.  I had JUST been with her the month before.  She was with her husband....everything appeared fine.  I had NO idea. Two months later, she was killed in a car accident.  It breaks my heart everyday that I wasn't there for her during that difficult time in her life.  If I had known, maybe I could have offered her my support...or done something to help her.  But I am sure she said nothing....because she didn't want to be judged.  
I think of friends who have had their dirty laundry aired publicly.  How many news stories do we read that only give us half the information?  It is so easy to to place the blame on one person, and shine a negative light on them.  But I have to wonder, how many people reading these stories actually take a step back and think, "wait a minute....why isn't anyone reporting about the other person's perspective?  Why are we only getting half of the story?"  I think we can be too complacent, and simply let ourselves believe everything we hear or read. I wonder how many lives have been damaged beyond repair, simply because their side of the story was never reported.  No wonder people hold things in.

 How many people are in our lives right now...hurting, and alone, yet too afraid to say anything?  Think of how much easier some situations in your lives would have been, if only you could have opened up and talked about it, without the fear of being judged.  Without the fear of becoming the latest gossip.  Why is it that the most hurtful, heartbreaking parts of our lives are exactly what the people that live to spread gossip feed on?

Many years ago, I made a pact with myself...and continue to strive to stand by it:

1. Never judge anyone unless you have walked in their shoes.  (you haven't)
2. Never make assumptions.
3. There are always TWO sides to every story.

My hope is that you can make this pact with yourselves as well....and that you will never be on the receiving end of unfair judgement.  You never know what the person next to you may be going through.  A little compassion and understanding goes a long way.

xox Here is some love to start your week!! xox

Side note:  I questioned whether I should publish this post or not.  I think the message is very relevant, but the topic is also sensitive.  I have actually been feeling a lot of turmoil this weekend over all of this....for several reasons.  This is the time of year all of this happened a few years ago.  Also,   I was invited to a gathering that I would have loved to have attended, for several friends I haven't seen for years were going to be there....but so was "he" I stayed home, and missed out.  I have to laugh, considering the fact that only a few days ago I was writing about how I "haven't felt this peaceful and content in years"....and then one memory hits, and it throws me into a tailspin.  I am sure we have all dealt with that...which is one reason I will send this out into cyberspace.  The other reason is this:  I started writing this before playing for church Saturday evening.  I definitely felt like a power higher than myself was sending me a message when the Second Reading began.  Allow me to share a portion of it with you...
Philippians 2:1-5
Brothers and Sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.  Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.  Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.



  1. Thank YOU! I am so glad this post touched you! Thank you for reading!!! xo

  2. Great Post Beth. Love it and Love you too!! :)

  3. Awww...thanks Dan!! Love you too!!