My Life / Your Life
Isn't it funny how easy it is to conceal all the problems that are going on in our own lives? I can focus on just a small portion of what interests me, write about it, and readers assume that all is well. I don't mention the hectic days, sleepless nights, and juggling of different tasks and responsibilities.
I know of a brilliant blogger who always writes strong, in-your-face commentaries. I was recently very surprised to see her reveal that she is going through some serious personal distress. It's appallingly easy it is to put up a front without our even intending to.
That's why I was shocked to get an email yesterday that was grossly unfair.
About a year ago, I had been asked to have breakfast with an older couple and give them advice on website design. My son had been invited, too. When we sat down and discussed their situation, we gave them some pointers and ideas.
During the meeting, they asked us to create the site for them. I hemmed and hawed, and pointed out that I had two businesses (I now have three) and that we would look it over and give them some recommendations but couldn't guarantee anything else.
After the meeting, we sent them a couple more emails with observations on their current site and the recommendation to find another design company. We realized if we tackled the chore, we'd be in over our heads: My son is with me only part of the time, and when we're together we want to be able to make time to play together (we get so little of that!). After all, he's very busy too, since he's prepping for college next year.
Time went by and we never heard from them again. We figured they were as busy as WE were, and after a while we forgot about them entirely. During that time, one of my best friends found out that she has bone cancer and has been given two years to live, another friend struggled with drug addiction, another friend went into deep depression and threatened suicide, another friend had a messy divorce, another friend found out her husband was molesting her daughter, my father had health problems, I got very involved in some charity work, and life churned on even busier than before.
Recently my son landed a fantastic job as a writer (he will be getting paid a significant amount for his articles) and I sent out an email to some family and friends to announce it.
The email I got back from the couple floored me. It was written by the wife, who was very bitter. Perhaps she was always that way, I wouldn't know: I'd only met her that one time. She accused us both of being selfish (since we wouldn't tackle the website, I assume) and whined about how my son never acknowleged a small gift they'd given him at the time (in actuality, he wrote them a thank you email). She was unnecessarily very vicious in her attack.
Needless to say, I was floored! She doesn't know us and didn't care enough to ask US what was going on - she preferred to make assumptions. Her husband had recently been through heart surgery, and she was merely lashing out at people that she thought (or hoped) were more privileged and thus deserving of a good whipping.
I can only give her sympathy to a certain point. I know many good men and women who face adversity in their lives and continue to plod on, treating others with respect and doing the right thing even when it's difficult. I am one of them. Apparently, she chooses a different path.
What was most striking to me was how little she knows me. And, how little we all know each other.