Yesterday the Terminator 3 movie was on TV. I was only half paying attention as I scurried around the house picking up discarded children’s socks without the sight of their match and tried to clean up the aftermath of breakfast for a family of five. I had seen it before, but despite a sink full of dishes I just had to sit down and watch Arnold. He was cracking me up in his role. He was so deadpan and emotionless in his interactions with young John Conner. He saw things in black and white. He seemed unmoved by the excited and worried outbursts of the humans around him. He had a mission and that was his main objective. I thought, that might be nice.
You see, in my short 36 years on this earth I’ve discovered something. I actually discovered it long ago. It’s simply that as I age I realize it doesn’t change and attempt to learn and deal with it better. The thing is, human interaction is a crazy, difficult thing. The system of it is flawed. It’s flawed because of us all and I’m really not sure if it can be fixed. There’s a few reasons that make it hard and could make someone just want to write off human interaction all together. As an introvert like myself that feeling just comes natural. And sometimes it makes me wonder if being a robot, void of feelings, wouldn’t somehow be an improvement of the current situation.
For one, people will always misunderstand you. Not all the time, but often times they will. They will misunderstand you completely. I’m not talking about disagreement. Disagreement is fine and dandy. I expect people to disagree with me. What a boring world it would be if we all thought alike. Disagreement is good. It’s not easy, but it’s good.
I’m talking about when you intend a certain reaction but people choose to interpret it other than how you meant for them to. It’s like you could say, “I hate the commercialism surrounding Christmas!” You just mean you don’t like pretty packages subtracting from the gift given in Bethlehem years ago. But what some people will hear is “I’m a Scrooge!” or even “I hate Christmas!”
This is never more present than in a world of diminished personal communication. The influx of Tweets, status updates, and texts have multiplied the ability to misunderstand. Without tone and facial expression to accompany words they can often be misconstrued. It really stinks when you write something intending a certain thought you wish to convey, but it’s not seen in the light you wished. Not at all.
The thing is no one can see your heart. I’m what you would call a “sharer.” I share my heart. I share my thoughts. It shouldn’t matter to me what people think of them, and most of the time it doesn’t. But sometimes it does. Sometimes I do care what people think.
Sometimes you even place your heart on your sleeve, placing it out in the open so people can see. So they can see what you hold dear, see your fears, your concerns, your dreams. The sad fact though is that even if you open your heart to others, they still may not see.
Because people will see what they want to see. It’s a disappointing but true fact that sometimes, often times, people will see only what they wish to see. It’s almost like optimists verses pessimists. I’m personally an optimist. I try to always see the good, always see the silver lining, because I believe deep down that most people are good, created by a God that intended such for His people.
But some people don’t think like I do. Some people only want to see bad. Some people can be confronted with fifty good things and one negative thing. They will choose to focus solely on the bad every time. And twice on Sundays.
These are the same people who can’t see your heart. These are the same people who will never see the good you do. But they will be waiting in line when you make a mistake or fall short in some way. When you fall they will be the crowd surrounding you with jeers and pointed fingers.
All hope is not lost. There will be a person or two in that crowd who will come forward and bend to help you. They will hold out their hand, offering support while you get onto your feet. Hold onto these kind of people. They are rare. Sadly you won’t always place your focus on these generous souls. You will be fixated on the mean people.
Because it’s true. Some people are mean. Some people gather profound joy in misunderstanding you, ignoring your bleeding heart, and only seeing the worst in you. After all, we all have ugly parts. It’s that whole being human thing again. Such a nuisance, right? Being human you will be wrong sometimes. It just so happens that some people love to point that out, to kick you while you’re down. I’m not sure how to change that, but I know how I choose to respond.
It’s easy to get your feelings hurt when people are mean, when they oppose you, when they see all bad rather than the good you intend. First reaction is to want to lash out. Then you may want to hide, to just curl into a ball and cry. Or maybe you’ll wish you could give up on the whole human race and become a robot!
But then what? I look around at my three year old dancing to the Frozen soundtrack. I feel that pride and love for her in my heart.
I hold my baby to my chest as I rock her to sleep and I feel like my heart may burst.
I look at my wedding photo and catch a glimpse of my husband’s smile. I realize how much I miss him when he’s at work, and I feel excitement over his return, over the thought of a welcome home embrace.
I think of the pride I feel when I care for my patients to my best ability. I think of their compliments and sincere “thank you’s” as I leave the hospital for the day. I think of the exhaustion after a hectic shift, of the life saved despite the odds. And I feel satisfied. I feel blessed.
I feel the peace of God. And then I feel like I can breathe again.
I don’t suppose I could experience these things if I was a robot. I don’t imagine I could feel the joy without the pain. I couldn’t taste the sweet without the salty. I couldn’t have happy without a bit of sad along the way.
The human interaction is a flawed experience. It does hurt sometimes. Sometimes it sucks big time. But then it doesn’t. Then it’s really, really wonderful. And I’ll take that over a cyborg any day.