I often wondered why people slap at the hand that reaches out in friendship and compassion. Why cordial relationships turn into bitter rivalries. People often complain that their prayers aren’t being answered. Why, they ask, does God (or other Deity) not pour out His bountiful blessings?
We are experts at asking. We are not gracious receivers. We say no to the gifts presented to us because we don’t understand the math behind the magic.
I see people receiving exactly what they ask for. They feel hungry and right then, someone will offer some bread. They say dismissively, “That’s nice of you but I don’t like Wonder Bread.” Then in the same breath they say, “I’m starving.” I’m sure someone’s rejected your kind offering before, and you felt bad about it.
I felt bad yesterday evening. A subscriber asked me if I was reading his posts because I have liked them. Apparently, he was also entitled to comments. Entitlement gets us nowhere. I wished he had asked me for a comment instead of accusing me and others of defacing his blog with our Gravatars.
There’s an artist on WordPress whose work I greatly admire and covet, but who has told me hates me and everything I stand for. Every time I show appreciation for his new set of paintings, he sends a kind email to thank me. He is professional. He does not accuse me of abusive behaviour.
The person from yesterday has subscribed to my blog but does not support me. He has “sometimes” read posts. I read all of his and appreciated his work. I now thank him for his complaint because I will now only make time for subscribers who appreciate me.
This blogger is not discussing a UN Security Council report or parliamentary transcripts from New Zealand (lunch break hobbies, don’t ask). He is not publishing a calculus workbook. It’s prose fiction.
And how up myself would I have to be to write detailed critiques without an invitation? Many of my subscribers have actual problems. Like stroke recovery, empty nests, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, affairs, divorce, bad romances and the loss of loved ones. They ask for support when they need it.
Hours before I got blasted for reading a blog without leaving a comment, a lovely young woman from Indonesia submitted a comment on S/M. I had read her review of the 50SOG film and wanted her to add a positive appraisal of (the film) to the discussion here. I asked her to please read my post and write a comment. It took two days before she finally agreed, and then I had to persuade her to not worry about the level of analysis in other comments. I value her contrary opinion. I might watch the film now. Her compassionate viewpoint is changing my mind.
The process is simple: Ask. (Wait.) Receive. Thank.
A few months ago someone published a photo looking really similar to my rig, which I’d published days earlier. My comment answered the author’s question, “What is art?” I also explained the similarities in our posts. I was greeted with, “How did you find us because …” I got an eyeful of words. I thought, “Did you not just ask a question? What is wrong with you?!”
We are not gracious receivers and because of that, we punish people who are trying to be nice.
Back to my first point…
Wonder bread. Occasionally, a person will take the bread and grind it underfoot. You could say that such a person is ungrateful. I wouldn’t worry about name-calling. Instead, think about how many gifts you might have turned away yourself and try to pay extra attention next time. Your sworn enemy could be His Ambassador. Your arch rival’s hiccup gave you a two point advantage. Warmly thank the person. You needed the win this time.
One of the reasons I have a strict GOYA policy (I’ll explain on March 30) is this. The genius mathematician upstairs doesn’t care that you want a pastrami sandwich on whole wheat bread with the ends cut off, coconut oil spread instead of butter, black cheddar thinly sliced, dill pickles and a dollop of sour cream, served by a tall redhead in a tight shirt.
He hears you yelling at the top of your lungs, “Please give me something to eat RIGHT NOW.”
Let’s play a game, Jedi Knights. Pay closer attention next time you use the Force and answer these questions from Björk’s song, All is Full of Love:
- Are you receiving?
- Is your phone on the hook?
- Are your doors all shut?