Friday, May 14, 2010
Jumping to Conclusions
What has made me laugh this week is thinking back to a time when a group of people jumped to conclusions about Taylor. It was pretty funny actually. Three summers ago we spent a couple of weeks up in Iowa University Hospital while Taylor had his second C-1 and C-2 vertebrae fused. (Big stuff that operation.) For the 16 months prior to that surgery, Taylor had completely shut down --stopped talking, walking, hands curled up--pain galore. Just an awful awful time in our lives. But here we were in this excellent hospital. I had not been in a setting that was so homogeneous in years. Having always taught in public schools in Georgia, my rainbow world pretty much turned all white. It was different for me---and yes, I'd probably jump to the conclusion that they were more conservative than I. Which leads me right on in to the funny part.
After Taylor's miraculous surgery, he began talking again. Delighted, jubilant, full of thanksgiving, I danced my way up to this funky little store in Iowa City. I couldn't believe it when I found the exact right button to put on his hospital gown. The button read: Silent No More!! I ceremoniously pinned it front and center on Taylor's gown---and then stood back and marveled at how he began to talk (Talk in Taylor language...but talk none-the-less.) Oh, I was such a proud mama! Ok, and ok.....it was about four days into this "homecoming" of sorts that one of the nurses, while taking Taylor's vital signs spoke so compassionately and honestly with me. "I did not know that Taylor was a homosexual. It is wonderful how you embrace that in him along with everything else."
"WHAT??????????" Where on earth had she gotten that? (Not that it's a bad thing; it just did not fit Taylor. Actually, I have never known a gay Down Syndrome person. Anybody????)
This precious nurse, in seeing us proudly display the "Silent No More" button, had jumped to the conclusion that we were "outing" Taylor at Iowa University Hospital. My whole body did a double take. I felt like I had been psychologically body-slammed---in a good way--well, at least in a funny way. And then I thought about how the nurses must have been talking about Taylor in the nurse's station trying to piece it all together so that he made sense to them. We all got a good laugh out of this---and were jolted into remembering some valuable lessons along the way.
I jump to conclusions often. Unfortunately, I often fill in the blank that is left empty with a thought that I have done something wrong or messed up somehow. That is really self-defeating, not necessary and is right up there with self-sabatoge. I am working really hard on not believing everything I think--about myself---about you.
When we are not invited, not emailed, not noticed, go unrecognized, are not admired, do not get hired,, when love is not returned or we are not called back----don't we so often jump to conclusions about the other person and what they're thinking, doing, believing? And then we make up something about what it means about us--about who we are and what we are worth.
This is a slippery slope----making assumptions and inserting our own junk on top of everybody else's.
Here's what I know (and am building muscle around): To be whole and healthy and happy, it is critical to rethink what we tell ourselves about others and especially what we convince our very own selves---about ourselves. Save the best .....and lose the rest.
We all need a delete button and then an "Empty Trash" button for so much of what we think.
Taylor is silent no more. That's pretty much what it means.
What have you concluded just today about yourself....about a friend?