It Isn’t Always What it Appears to Be

There I was lying face down surrounded by blue uniforms with my arms restrained. Every fiber of my being wanted to get up and run.  The wires piercing the skin just below my neck deliver jolts of pain that radiate through my right shoulder and down my arm and side. It was like being on fire from the inside out while at the same time being subjected to a pulsating electric shock. A man’s voice yelled at me, “Don’t move” as he pressed his hand firmly into the centre of my back.

What do you think was going on?

If you are a fan of Live PD or COPS you most likely are wondering what I was being arrested for and why I resisted to the point of being restrained and tased. Who would blame you? What you just read sounds like it is straight out of the real life drama caught on camera.

Let me assure you I have not been arrested nor have I been restrained or tased at any point in my life. That being said, I have had what I have described happen to me on two separate occasions and it is possible that by three pm this afternoon it will happen again.

It’s that time again.

Well actually it is well past that time again but I put it off because I was afraid. It’s not dirty ground I will be lying on face down and it is not police uniforms that will be surrounding me. It is not the barbs of a Taser™ that will deliver the pain and it is not handcuffs that will restrain me. Instead, I will be in the sterile environment of a surgical suite surrounded by medical staff. This will be my fifth Radiofrequency Ablation procedure but hopefully not the third time the sedation wears off before the work is complete!

I have written about this before.

In my July 2017 blog posts Medical Metaphor and Medical Metaphor Part 2 I used the procedure as a metaphor for: addressing the problem not just the symptoms and living a new normal. Just as I metaphored back then I would like to metaphor again (boy I love creating new verbs).

It’s so easy to make a wrong assumption.

The facts don’t change but the lens through which we interpret the facts can create a version of events and an assumed outcome that is far from the truth. We apply our experiences to all information we process. Although I do not know for sure, I assume that many of you interpreted the opening of this blog through the lens of your reality TV/TV news consumption. Because of this it would be logical for you to believe that you were reading about my arrest even though it was not what I was describing.

I do it, we all do it.

We jump to conclusions. We extend the benefit of the doubt even when there is no doubt or we condemn even when there is nothing conclusive based on our own personal experiences. It is the bastardization of the God given ability to learn and grow through experience. Yes I used bastardization! The illegitimate use of life experience causes us to assume guilt or innocence or assign intent or desired outcome based on what we have gone through, observed or even based on what we would like to see happen.

With a New Year approaching it’s time to change my approach.

It’s time for me to ask, not assume. It’s time for me to stop assuming that my interpretation of the facts based on my life experiences is actually correct. I understand that when I communicated my surgical experience I chose to craft it in a way that it was easy for the reader to jump to a conclusion that was not correct but that is not the reality of most interactions in life.

In life the stories that we hear, the interactions that we have and the relationships that we are a part of, rarely involve communications that are crafted over time to create a desired outcome. People say what comes to mind and express what they feel. With each statement comes the opportunity for me to jump to conclusions based on my life experience or to ask questions so that I can respond based on the other person’s reality.

It applies to my relationship with Jesus.

It is time to ask, not assume. It is time for me to stop applying my limited life experiences when God is revealing things to me from His infinite knowledge. When something happens I must stop assuming I know why or what the purpose and desired outcome is and start asking God to reveal His purpose and desired outcome. It is time I admit that how I see the world is not the same as God sees the world.

It applies to my relationship with others.

It is time to ask, not assume. It is time for me to stop applying my limited life experiences when they have very little to do with the personal experiences of others. When something happens I must stop assuming I know why or what the purpose and desired outcome is and start asking what the other person means or what they intend to accomplish. It is time I admit that how I see the world is not the same as others see the world.

To love God and to love others leads us to seek to better understand them rather than assume they are just like us, it isn’t always what it appears to be.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)

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