“I measure success by the size of my ankles.”
That quip came tumbling out as we were leaving a locally well-known eatery and stepped into the mid afternoon oppressive heat and humidity,
“That’s only because you are a cheap date.”
That quip came tumbling out as we actually parted ways and slid into the blistering cocoon of our separate cars.
Those two statements make no sense to the reader, unless you know the context or the characters involved. Those two statements taken out of context and considered without knowledge of the characters could lead to drawing the wrong conclusion at best and being judgmental at worst.
So here’s the story. Pedal edema, swelling of feet, ankles and legs, happens to be a 30+ year fact of life for me. In the summer months, the fact explodes exponentially. There are days when having a managed, lesser degree of edema is one of the sweetest blessings in life. There are days when the degree of edema simply does not respond to the usual measures of care and it just takes over. I’ve learned over time to see the humour in a situation that I have no control over. Hence, “I measure success by the size of my ankles.” My friend knew of the situation obviously and understood my sense of humour and we laughed together.
So here’s the story. The local eatery is well-known for its limited menu of one main food item with a few standard issue side items, served almost before the order is given at a very favorable price. After thanking my friend for paying for lunch, the reply was, “That’s only because you are a cheap date.” We laughed together, knowing our culture and sharing in the same sense of humour.
The quips spoken were not by a demented person in the first case or as an insult in the second case. Those two statements taken out of context and considered without knowledge of the characters could lead to drawing the wrong conclusion at best and being judgmental at worst.
We often watch the lives of other people and we draw the wrong conclusion at best and become judgmental at worst. We take into account neither the context of where they came from or their current circumstances; we have no knowledge of the character. We only know what is true for us, our perspective, our worldview and we attach it to others around us. We define others by the box in which we live.
How often we give up a chance to partake in fellowship with another, koinonia, because we view others from atop the box at best and are imprisoned by a box at the very worst.