I've been going round and round about whether I should respond to a comment on the blog. There are plenty of good reasons not to do so. It's so easy to OVER react to the lack of emotional content carried in electronic communications. But the more I think about it the more I feel the need to respond. I would have done this privately but I can't figure out anyway of reaching this person except through where we met.
Which is right here.
Let me say at the start - this person said a very nice thing about me at the beginning of her comment and I thank her. This is also NOT personal since we don't know each other and aren't likely to meet (we live a long way apart).
It has to do with Angela, the youth ministry coordinator in Edmonton who is fighting leukemia. She posted recently about a person who had left comments that Angela just didn't find comforting or supportive. I responded with some flip but blunt comments (as I am wont to do) about such people and the hope that Angela would let it roll off her back.
Well apparently the person who made the comments (I have to take her word for it since Angela didn't identify them) took exception to my remarks and posted the following on my blog:
But I also want to say that when she posts about a friend who has given her brutal advice which she didn't need, she's actually referring to a comment that I left on her blog in love and care, hoping only that she will try her hardest to heal and return to her previous life of joy. So please be gentler in your responses when you don't know whose emotions are involved. I know it's hard to judge a situation from afar, and to be quite honest it's hard enough to judge it from right here in the middle of it, but you never know what words have actually been spoken and interpreted the wrong way. I'm sorry if this seems like an intrusion. Or a lecture. Not intended so. Just a sad friend praying for another sad friend who seems to think I've betrayed her.
Here are my thoughts:
First you need to know - I'm a middle aged guy married to his college sweetheart. Over the last 20 years she's developed one, then two, then three and now four chronic illnesses. A couple of which could be very nasty if they so chose. Which, God being gracious, they've not done so far.
In that time I've seen folks say silly things (and I've done it myself) to my wife or other sick people "trying to be helpful". Or be supportive or whatever. One thing I learned in the years I worked in the media is that perception IS reality. If your friend's perception is that you betrayed her, that your advice was brutal, then her reality is just that. No doubt her illness is playing a role in that, so what? Trust me as someone with long sad YEARS of experience in this - there is only one possible response if you love your friend. You apologize and you beg, BEG for forgiveness. Then, if they'll let you, you hold them in your arms, tell them you love them and ask if there's anything you can do.
And that's not what I'm hearing in your comment. You're upset that she's mad at you. You're upset that I'm being mean to you. It's all about you. Guess what? At this point in her life it's not about you. Not one tiny little bit. And it shouldn't be. It should be about your friend while she quite literally fights for her life.
Did she misinterpret you? Could be. Does that matter? No. What matters is that she's been hurt. By you. Intentionally or otherwise.
And the real question - what are you gonna do about it?