I had not seen her in a while and that was not usual.
At first I did not even take notice but after a while it occurred to me that it had been a while since she visited.
I noticed too that I had not seen her two children. I had gotten so accustomed to them visiting on Sunday evenings and taking my dog out for a walk.
I just could not place it.
I realised too that the last time I had seen her she seemed a bit distant. She was not her usual ‘sandie lemmi give you a big hug self’.
She was such a nice person and I appreciated all those times when I got to go by her house and talk about whatever. I thought about all the times she helped me over the years and wondered if it was another friend that I was about to lose.
Maybe I did something wrong, I thought to myself.
Except I could not place what I did. I thought of a mutual friend who I had an unpleasant interaction with at work and I wondered, ‘well maybe he told her something bad about me’.
If that was the case there was nothing that I could do about it, but I thought that I would pop by her house nevertheless to visit.
I kept forgetting but one day after work it came back to my mind and I purposed in my heart to stop procrastinating and go visit her.
As I drove home I imagined different scenarios.
What if I go there and she doesn’t come out? What if she doesn’t invite me in? I thought. [Gasp.]
I pulled into her driveway some minutes past 8pm. On the porch I saw her dog Cody; a mix between a mongrel and Shiatzu.
Cody isn’t very friendly and he does not take too kindly to outsiders coming too close to HIS house. I thought it would be best to therefore stay in my car, if she was really upset, maybe she wouldn’t bother to save me if Cody decided to attack.
In the car, I fixed my hair while Cody barked in my direction. [Woof Woof Woof!]
Right then I saw a silhouette approach the front door. The person looked and then returned to the darkness of the house.
I thought it was her daughter.
The person then returned, opened the grill and stepped on the porch.
It was her! [Yayy.]
“Andrea, what me do you?” I blurted out. [Embarrassing! Couldn’t I just say good evening? Cha!]
She walked hurriedly towards me with a smile and hugged me in her usual way.
“Lawd Sandie, me start get so lazy. I hardly walk anymore” she said, explaining her little disappearance.
We began talking about work, school and many different things under the open sky. It felt good to reconnect.
That night I drove home with a sense of relief. I was happy that everything was ok but I also realised that my thinking was all wrong! Nothing had happened, she wasn’t mad, she was merely going through her own stuff.
How many times have I interpreted things wrong? I thought to myself as I drove pass the barely lit houses that lined the street. The crisp wind seemed to join in on my contemplation. It felt a little cold.
I considered the situation with my friend and realised that by looking at the situation incorrectly and thinking wrong thoughts it could have led me to act in the wrong way. I could have followed the crazy narrative in my head and chose to ‘hold my corner’ but that would have solved nothing.
Instead, I chose to seek peace and pursue it. Peace in that situation was to move beyond the thoughts I was having and go visit her to see what was happening.
That simple gesture helped to shift my perspective.
I pulled up to my driveway thinking of other situations where I might have handled things in the wrong way (knowingly and unknowingly). Sometimes we think and act on things and ruin relationships just because of our perspective. Many times we don’t even take the time to find out what is really happening with the people around us and we act on assumptions.
That night I realised how a shift in perspective and having the right thoughts can make things ok again between people. I realised too that even in the absence of that, sometimes it is just better to give others the benefit of the doubt instead of running off with our own thinking. In the midst of all that Philippians 4:8 came back to me and i share it below:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
[photo credit: marcjohns.com]