NOTE: You can listen to the MP3 of this HERE.
By Heather Curlee Novak
I have a special wisdom. I know The Right Way To Do Everything. I really do know everything, which may surprise you considering I only have a bachelors degree. I have not traveled the world, can only barley be considered a mother after eleven months at it and I am only thirty eight years old. But let me tell you, I do know everything, or at least I thought so until recently.
Thanks to my special wisdom I can tell you the best way to do anything from peel an apple to living your entire life. Whether you have asked me or not. Whether I actually have experience in the area of consideration or not. Do you have someone in your life like me? Are YOU perhaps a bit like me?
I blame my Mother’s Mother Margaret, who I loved dearly. She had a fierce belief in the right way to live, the right way to do things. I feel I often channel her spirit and I have yet to learn to control it. I can blame some of it on my Dad, who we call the VOA for VOICE OF AUTHORITY. He really started this by modeling a special brand of ‘helpfulness’ in life. My Husband calls it the C Chromosome after my maiden name.
It drove me up a wall most of my life until recently when I realized Dad means only well.
I only mean well too.
I mean, if you knew for a fact one restaurant was awesome with tasty succulent food and attentive waitstaff, but the other was hideously overpriced for what you get and you basically have to bus your own tables, wouldn’t you share the wisdom accordingly? Even if you hadn’t eaten at either restaurant, but heard it from other people, read it in the paper, or just kind of had a feeling? It’s like that when I share my wisdom. I just want that particular person to have the most positive experience in their life and I usually think I know just what that is.
And likewise, if you had a friend making horrible choices in their life and you could clearly see the better option they should be taking--you would tell them, right? Because you love them and want to protect them from grief. Because if their life was a movie and you watched it you would warn them by shouting “Don’t go in the basement!!!” They would appreciate that right? They would know it was because you loved them, cared about them. Even if they didn’t quite realize they needed your...help? Even if they didn’t exactly ask for your...wisdom.
What? You wouldn’t say anything? I do it because I care! Because I love them. Right?
I read a book lately where there was a character like me, and a line said something about the heroine loving people, maybe too much, and you could tell which ones were her loved ones by their ‘hunted look’. I’m afraid my friends might have that. That hunted look.
Hey, this feels like real wisdom and it doesn’t feel good.
I wonder if real wisdom is just loving people where they are and leaving them the hell alone? Listening to the horror story as it unfurls and stepping on the urge to yell about not going into the basement. Maybe better love, better care would be to just listen...when they go into the basement and after they have emerged still breathing, eventually smiling, and wiser all by themselves. Maybe true wisdom, if I had it, would keep my mouth from opening in the first place.
I think all throughout Michiana you may hear quiet cheers of my dear friends released at once from The Right Way To Do Things, finally free to do their own things instead. I wonder if any of them can offer me advice on how to maintain this sudden epiphany of mine. I wonder who will share their wisdom instead of me offering mine. It’s not really all that great anyway.