Yesterday I posted a meme on my Facebook profile that led to a mini-conversation with a friend of mine—a person I care for and respect immensely even though we have drastically different political opinions. The conversation was around whether someone has to agree or be labeled or stay silent. I think this is an important dialogue because I believe that people on both sides of the political coin feel like “the other side” feels this way. I also think that this feeling is largely to blame for many of the challenges we face in today’s society.
…or The Worst Question in the World
People are not unlike the web development software that we call “What You See Is What You Get.” In WYSWYG software, you enter your text and pictures into a dialogue box and supposedly, what the person looking at the page will see is exactly what you’ve entered. Much of the time, it works. But every now and then, you look at the page and the font you chose is different in one sentence, there are five too many spaces between two paragraphs, or punctuation from some other language sits in the middle of every other word. Some bit of phantom code has embedded itself in the back end.
Over the weekend, I had a conversation with someone I hadn’t heard from in a while. They wanted to know what they’d done to hurt my feelings. There was awkward silence after awkward silence while I tried to explain that it was actually what they hadn’t done, but that they weren’t the only ones who hadn’t done it. Since I lost my son last year, there has been this steady drifting away of people that I knew before the tragedy. ‘Drifting’ isn’t really the right word. It’s been more like an exodus.
Over the months, I’ve heard things like:
I thought you would call if you needed to talk.
I didn’t think you’d want to talk about it.
I was afraid that if you were okay, me asking how you were would make things worse.
I just don’t know what to say.
You just aren’t the same.