How To Be Less Objective With Your Postman
February 15, 2015
By Jane Tawel
So, ever since I ‘ve started my blog and a few hearty folks have started reading it, I’ve noticed people looking at me a bit funny.
Sandy at work grabbed my hands and asked if she could see my fingernails and then started laughing really hard. And no, she wasn’t a hand model, but she did work previously as a manicurist. (Told you – I’m surrounded.)
Is it my imagination or since my last post have people been looking at me cross-eyed?
And my daughter, Clarissa, who so sweetly reads and likes what I write, the other day walked past me when I was sitting at the dining room table and scratched me behind my ears.
This is my funny friend Steve’s recent comment:
Jane, you are scaring me a little with some of these posts. I find out you only have one good eye and you want to shoot just about everyone. You do realize the police monitor social media now and may be making you a visit. Fortunately I know that when you say “shoot” you really mean “shoot a mean glance at”, and even then you are only shooting with one eye. Actually, knowing you, you really mean that you think about shooting a mean glance at these people, since if you actually shot a mean glance at them (with your one good eye) they might feel bad and that goes against the kind of person you are. Since I am OCD, I do need to point out that your numbering scheme repeats itself between 49 and 50.
It seems this blog is just pulling the words out of you.
Thanks for the read, Steve.
I grew up with Steve in Winona Lake, Indiana. We call him the “Energizer Bunny”. He is “that” guy – the one who rode a motorcycle cross-country at twenty, climbed Kilimanjaro at forty, hikes through the desert without breaking a sweat, and I believe Steve will still be doing back flips while sailing around the world well into his nineties. Yeah, now he tells me quite carelessly that he’s OCD?!?!?! How do I connect those dots?
Perceptions of people are chimerical. How we perceive people changes the more we know about them. Or the more we know what they want us to know about them. Or the more we find out how little we actually know about them.
For example, there’s the couple you’ve known for ten years, and one day she carelessly says, “oh, that was when I was married to my first husband.” “What first husband?!”,you gasp, gagging on your bruschetta. She frowns and says, “I told you that”. NO WAY DID SHE EVER TELL YOU THAT!
Or like that game you play – “Two Truths and a Lie”, and one of the statements is, “I am your biological mother”, and your mom says: That’s the lie! Surprise!
My son Gordon and I watch this show called “Supernatural” and the lovely human beings are going along like normal loving, fun humans with green or blue eyes and then BAM! In a second you realize the cute kid with the cowlick has been inhabited by a demon. You know this because when demons enter their bodies, their eyes turn solid black. If you ever, ever see your husband’s eyes turn black, throw salt in his face. Just sayin’.
Then there’s the stuff you think you know about yourself, but other people assure you that you are dead wrong.
For instance, you tell people you are an introvert and they burst out laughing – “You?” but you are always……. (fill in blank with extrovert actions) Or you tell your spouse, I have always hated lima beans, and he says, ‘you love lima beans.”
And you start double thinking, maybe I DO like lima beans….
The real question is, why does it matter what other people think? I mean, if I think of myself as an introvert who believes that I am being mean and selfish unless I am talking to the people in the room with me, then why do I care if you think I am an extrovert who loves being around and talking to people? It’s just a different perception after all, right? I see myself as someone who feels guilty if I am not talking with people and you see me as someone who can’t shut up.
The act itself is not changing, just the perception of the person analyzing it.
But we do care what others think of us. What do they say? –Perceptions are everything. But whose perceptions should influence what we think, feel and do? That is where subjectivity and objectivity matter.
You know it made my day when I found studies proving that Science (Capital S, Science) is just as subjective as any thing else. Scientists think they are all, like, “Oh, we are the only ones who are completely objective and therefore only Science (Capital S, Science) can analyze what is True (Capital T)”. (When you read that can you please read it in your mind with a gruff, stuffy, nasally geeky, superior sounding Scientist Voice?) But actually it has been irrefutably proven that scientists go into every experiment knowing what results they want to get. Totally subjective! They may know they know or they may not know they know, but they know.
We are the same in relationships with each other – we may know we know, or we may not know we know, but we know. The more subjective I am about you, the less objective I can be. For instance – objective with kids and husband? Fuh-git abut it! The postman, well, I can be pretty darn objective. Perceptions matter less with less love and need. More love, more need = more subjectivity.
And why not?
Well, for one thing, you will find as your kids grow older they do not want a parent to show any subjectivity about them whatsoever. A kid who is cruelly and selfishly growing up away from his / her selfless, adoring mom, wants you to be completely uncaring, unsubjective, unperceptive, and unintelligent about him/ her. You are to be completely objective about your kids by the time they are fifteen and when they are twenty- one, they immediately become your postman. (IN THEIR MINDS).
If your child does not show up for your birthday you are to feel as if the mail just didn’t come today. If your child angrily bites your head off (and his eyes turn black) you are basically to think of yourself as the dog that the postman just tased even though the dog was just lying in a coma in your living room. And it’s the dog’s birthday. It’s just that crazy postman again –LOL. Stay objective. You don’t love or need the postman. Who cares what he does?
That is how objective you are to be in your perceptions of your children after they turn twenty-one. After twenty –one, a child can tase you and you don’t care.
Your spouse on the other hand wants you to become more completely subjective about him/ her. You are to become uncruel, unobjective, unobtuse, and unstupid. You are to be completely subjective about your spouse after ten years of marriage and after twenty years, you are basically to think of yourself as the same organism. No surprises. After twenty years of marriage you have spent enough years surprising each other and now it is time to rub along nicely while you stand back from the splatter and together watch your grown children scare the heck out of you.
When you have been married awhile you love your spouse in the same exact way that you love yourself – completely and utterly subjectively.
For instance, your wife farts at the dinner table. You pretend it didn’t happen just like you would do if you farted. You are one farting organism.
Or your husband buys a new Mercedes without telling you. You smile and think, “Of Course, if I had wanted, I would have Certainly bought a new 500-million dollar friggin’ Car without telling HIM!” You stay subjective, no matter what. (Unless his eyes turn black and then you can throw salt.)
It’s a fine balancing act we are supposed to do, we humans, navigating relationships: both large and small, temporary and eternal, and casual and serious relationships. Am I ever really uninvolved – objective? My emotions can turn on a dime about myself and “the other” – even if the other really is only the postman (especially if his eyes turn black). People who know me will tell you I am not very good at objectivity. Of course, do they really know me? Do I really know me? Does any one care if they know me or I know me or I know them ?
We are truly only ever known by the One who made us. God promises He knows us better than we know even ourselves. There is much proof of this but as the Psalmist in #139 says, “God has searched me and He knows me.”
God knows, we are not created to be objective – even if we are scientists. Jesus was not objective. If you want evidence look at the relationship between Peter – a completely subjective guy if ever you want to meet one – and Jesus.
I really, really hate when movies or books portray Jesus as this completely objective, Zenned-out practically flat-lining guru. Objectivity = less love, less need. Subjectivity = more love, more need. Jesus was as subjective as they come. If He came to show us the Father then Jesus came to show us that God is subjective. When people say, God loves you but He doesn’t need you, then I think, well what the heck is the point then? Why bother?
See I wanna tell my kids: I know you want me to stop playing God and be all objective about your lives and your choices. But I can’t, because God isn’t objective about you either. Kiddos, I don’t just love you in this “objective, I’m so far above you and I could not care less kinda love” way. I need you. Justine, Clarissa, Verity and Gordon: I am completely subjective when it comes to how I love you. Kids, I can pretend and I can shut up, but I will never, ever, ever ever be objective about you. I love you too much. And I need you.
Jesus didn’t go through life as an objective human with no needs. He was the opposite of apathetic. He was the opposite of unfeeling. Jesus was, as in every other way, the most human – the most subjective. He just was able to not let His needs or His subjectivity cause Him to sin. That ‘s where we differ. But we do not differ because Jesus had no needs, no feelings, no subjectivity.
Jesus was subjective with his mother and family when they told him he was crazy and later when he asked his disciple to care for his mother after his death. He was subjective and both confrontational and caring with a strange Samaritan woman at the well when he called her out on her lies about her husbands. Jesus was subjective when he was grocery shopping and he zapped the fig tree for not bearing fruit. Jesus was a completely subjective extrovert when he whipped through the temple so the Gentiles could worship –not His people, not his homies, why should he care?
The Christ’s greatest need for relationship is perhaps shown in the Garden, when he is scared, and feels far from His Father, who The Son has enjoyed a close relationship with until now. Jesus needs his best friends when he wonders not only if He can see it through –the task of dying alone for something He didn’t do — but is agonizing over how in the world his “kids” will survive when he is gone. He is not at all objective in the Garden, but cries, “Could you not have stayed awake with me just now? Could you not love me enough just now to pray with me? Where is your love when I need you?”
If Jesus came to show us the Father, then we do not worship an objective God. Oh, Jehovah is not like any other god – He isn’t subjective when it comes to choosing favorites, or whims, or human foibles and sins. That’s only what false gods do. But “I AM” is subjective when it comes to loving us – choosing us, caring for us, and yes, needing us.
In Scripture, God constantly needs His children to say, “Abba, I know You need me to do this, so I will because I love You.” God needs Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Esther, Ruth. And, after all, He chose and needed one of us, Mary, fully human, to be the mother of His Son on earth. And He needed that Son to present himself blameless on our behalf, to restore and save us for relationship with Him for eternity. Jesus daily turned to His Father in love and need. Even when He was older than twenty-one. Jesus and The Father – a subjective relationship based on real need and real love for each other. That is great need. That is great love. That is as subjective as life gets.
Heavenly Daddy, Abba,
I am sorry for all the times I wanted You to be objective about me. I’m sorry I have doubted Your love for me and didn’t want You to need me. I’m sorry I shunned Your need for me to love You as You deserve to be loved. I trust that You are the only One Who truly knows me.
I’m sorry that the older I got, the less I trusted Your good advice and wanted to go my own way. Forgive me for the times I bit off Your head in anger because I was confused about myself and You. I don’t know me and I don’t know You nearly well enough. I’ll try to work at knowing You better and let You know me better.
Forgive me for the times I chose a lesser god to worship.
I’m sorry for all the times I missed Your birthday. And thank you, for treating me the same way You treat the postman – with sacrificial and subjective Love. Thank You for loving me too much to be objective about me and thank You for needing me. Help me love you more and need you more every day, even though I’m older than twenty-one.
Jane Karen Cook Tawel