Context is Everything

Having answered her phone and realizing it was me, Rachel said, “I”m sorry, but I was hoping it was someone else.”

If that were all the information you had, you might think we didn’t have much of a relationship.  There are plenty of marriages like that – where the last person a spouse wants to talk to is his or her spouse.  Ours has never been, and never will be, such a marriage.

Now, if I told you Rachel was expecting an important call from someone else this morning, you might understand that original statement differently.  I did.

Which is, actually, what made it a little comical.  In fact, it reminds me of the time, very early in our marriage, when I said to her, “it seems that we are getting farther and farther apart from each other.”

We were painting our bedroom. She was painting the trim, and I was rolling the walls.  I was moving faster around the room than she was, hence my comment.

It was a little too early in our relationship to say such a thing without context.  I quickly put it in context, though, the context of our immediate physical location as opposed to the status of our relationship, and all was good.

Take a minute to think about how often during your day context makes a difference.  That person who pulled in front of you this morning – do you really have any idea what was going on in their life?  If you are like me, it probably wasn’t one of the scenarios that plays in your own head.  Other drivers really are not usually

  1. out to mess with my day or
  2. really even thinking about me at all.

There you have it.  What is the context for your actions and decisions?  How about for everyone else’s?  How could one be expected to keep up with being aware of what is going on in everyone else’s life and mind?

One really isn’t expected to.  One might, though, be expected to cut them some slack.  Seems a fair trade off to me.

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