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Attempting grace (#1072)

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, short

These times are difficult. People are not themselves. They are scared, frustrated, tired, worried, uncertain.

We’ve gone from face-to-face conversations to face-to-screen-to-face conversations, email conversations, text conversations, all these incompletely simulated modes of communication. Much is lost in the transition: nuance, body language, vibes, feelings we know but can’t describe.

It happens too often: They say (or write or post) one thing; we hear another. We write (or say) something; they hear something else. Do we even share language?

Too much is often left unsaid, perhaps implied, perhaps unnecessary in common times or common modes, perhaps just forgotten amidst everything else.

They make mountains out of molehills or molehills out of mountains. They fail to grasp our concerns, our perspective, our stressors, our experience, us. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

It’s easy to get angry, to lash out, to respond in kind, rather than kindly.

Let’s try another approach, one that’s hard, harder still in these difficult times.

Take a deep breath. Remember that others are not at their best. Assume the best of intentions, even when you don’t see them. Take another deep breath. Pause, reflect, empathize. Reread or re-hear. Rethink. Chill.

Another breath.

Postscript: This musing represents an attempt to expand upon something I wrote in a recent email.

Electronic messages are sometimes too easy to misunderstand. I’ve been working on taking a deep breath, accepting that people are not necessarily at their best, and assuming the best of others. I hope we all can try to do that.

But I wanted more. These new words are not the ones I wanted, but it’s a start. Writing is hard. Revising is harder still. Still, I’ll likely try again. Just not today. Or perhaps one of the many better writers out there would be willing to take a stab at expressing these sentiments with eloquence.

Version 1.0 of 2020-01-17.