I don't know why my mind wondered to this topic, other then the fact that I tend to have repeated episodes of this Foot-in-mouth-disease. It's partially an inherited trait, or maybe it's contagious, I don't know the origin.
I grew up as the quiet kid who's main goal in my family was to be the peacemaker...at any cost. Somehow I learned that when you can't bring peace about in a peaceful manner it must be brought about by the wrath of Ariell. Such a sad contradiction. Yet, it was the only solution I could figure out at the time. Admittedly, it is still hard sometimes to keep peace in a family without pulling out the lightening bolts, killer glares and the banshee voice.
(This isn't going exactly where it did when I was thinking it through a few moments ago. But, that's what this Blog is for. To utterly alleviate the burden of too many thoughts from my mind. So it will stand as it flows. Or maybe something less firm than standing. Meander may be a better word.)
I once had a missionary companion tell me that every time I opened my mouth I said something offensive. Now I think she must have been exaggerating, just a little, at least. I was shy and quiet remember. I also wanted to be kind. I never wanted to offend people. In fact I still hate the thought that I may say things that might offend someone else. I have this tendency to think back on every conversation I have in order to pin point something offensive I might have said so I can apologize. I don't like being disliked. I don't like hurting peoples feelings or having them angry with me or deciding not to be my friend anymore. It even kind of stresses me out if I think any of those things have occurred.
Okay, moving on. This companion gave this example to show me my sin: We were invited into someone's home while out knocking on doors one day. We sat down and started to talk to the woman in her dimly lit room. I began to sneeze. She asked if I was okay. I said I was and tried to brush off the sneezing by saying that I was allergic to dust. And the conversation continued. My companion told me that what I had said about being allergic to dust was offensive. After I thought about it I could see how someone could take that as an offense. It may have come across as implying their house was dusty, maybe they would assume I was even judging them on the cleanliness of their home or their skills at cleaning.
Wow, so not what I had meant. To me it had been a completely harmless thing. There is always some form of dust floating around everywhere. I have seasonal allergies and allergies to dander and other allergies of that nature. I took it as just a natural everyday occurrence.
Now I have to say a bit more about this companion. She also had made a judgement about me and my intelligence long before we were companions. She had heard that I was home schooled and had therefore decided that I was socially inept and far below average intelligence. Sometimes I wonder if she conjured a belief that I had a mental disability. I don't know what was in her head. Nor am I angry or holding a grudge with her about her feelings towards me. I am merely using her, and my experience with her, as an example. She didn't like me and treated me as an inferior.
I began to watch more closely the things that I said. I also began to watch more closely the things that she said. Although she prided herself on her ability to speak without offending others, I noticed that she was not so perfect at not giving offense. I can't remember things she said. I don't try to remember things like that. But, I knew that I was not so terrible and she had misjudged me greatly.
I know that I still find myself in situations where something I said may have offended someone. Not because I meant to offend, but that others may choose to be offended by something I said. My intention is not to offend. I worry and fret over that far more than I ought to because I don't want to have it happen.
Sometimes I have found that I have swallowed my foot so far that I can almost walk on it again. The point is, that I am bursting with a desire to be friendly and to say things that build a relationship out of common interests and to become close to people. I love being around people and making friends. I am just so bad at it. So, if I am talking to you and I say something dumb or offensive try to give me the benefit of the doubt. I am admittedly lacking in social skills. But I am not totally inept. I hope. Remember that what I say doesn't come out of my mouth the way I meant it.
I tried to compliment a gal once on her lesson. She had shared it in a creative, attention getting way that I really liked. I told her that I liked her lesson and said something along the lines of "I wouldn't have thought to do it that way." I wanted to say how I thought it was so creative and that she was a really great teacher and by the fact that I wouldn't have done it that way meant that I am not creative enough to make my lessons so interesting and interactive. But I think she took it as, "you didn't do it the way I would have, so it wasn't as good as my way." NOT what I meant.
Oh, how misinterpreted and misunderstood. I know that my ability to speak clearly and intelligibly is thwarted. My mouth always betrays my heart and mind. My mouth can never form the ideas into anything as straightforward as I intend. Especially in impromptu situations. I might be able to say things fairly well if I can write them down, having time to come up with the right wording.
But even then there are no guarantees. Like this post, for instance.