“Carol: OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you-…
Melvin Udall: It’s not true. Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good.”
I had an employer once tell me that the nickname Bird suited me perfectly. Her observation was, that I always
seemed to be observing everything and everyone around me, but carefully keeping a safe distance from what was going on.
Now, I’m 100% sure that she meant that to be a compliment.
And I’m 100% sure I didn’t take it that way.
How she seemed to be perceiving me was that I was somehow a coward, unable to engage in life, but enjoying watching how everyone else was dealing with theirs. Ouch. Add to the fact that she was a therapist….it made me have to take her somewhat seriously, because by the very definition of her job, reading people was essential. And then as if that wasn’t enough, she was a pretty popular therapist.So unfortunately, at the moment, I was forced to take what she had opined and study myself to see if her perception of me was true…She had some “street creds”.
It took me awhile to decide if she had seen me clearly.
She was right. And wrong. What she was seeing was an illusion, an image. I’d only worked there for one week, and already she thought she knew me. I was kind of insulted that she had an opinion of me at all, when she had only known my name for about 40 hours total, and not much else.
Each of us are made in the image of God, and that alone should clue us in on the fact that no one person in the world is going to completely “know” another one. Some people in my life consider me quiet, reserved, and frankly, a bit shy. There are those that consider me a bit cold and indifferent, but then again others that would never describe me that way. Others would describe me as happy, kind, peaceful, and funny. Others, would not.My kids often tell me to write a parenting book because I am the best mom in the world; other family members think I wasn’t all that great at it at all. Some find me merciful, while others think I’m being unkind by giving a truthful opinion. To some, I’m one of the Noodle Salad crowd; to others, I’m one of the Walking Wounded.
And all of these things are true about me. But not one of them shows the full person that I am. And by acknowledging that I can portray so many conflicting images to so many different people, I am wary about trusting my own perceptions of how a person is. That one statement about me went a long way in teaching me
to assume there is more going on in people’s lives, spirits, soul, and minds than meets the eye. I’m careful to keep an open mind, and to be quick to uproot any judgments I might be prone to make about the entirety of a person by what I see…
Perceptions of the people around us are important, but not exhaustive. Hence, only He who truly KNOWS us can be our Judge.
I’m not at all pissed off that some people seem to have it so good, with stories of noodle salad and boats and lakes. Because I honestly think that all of the Noodle Salad People of this world have dealt with their own despairs and sadness’s. In fact, I think, like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, Noodle Salad People don’t exist at all.