…first remove the log in your own eyes then you Can see clearly.
The HOLY BIBLE
I recline back on the Ken-Poly plastic seat and sip my evening tea. I love the sweet taste of honey. I breathe in the rich aroma of ginger and calmness floods in. I am in deep thought today. I have had a really interesting day. My friend Mercy and I spoke today via a video call and I was elated to see her – seeing that a physical meet up is not feasible. After chatting for a while she brought up something that is going to be the meat of my story today.
Mercy has been enjoying my articles and she keeps sending me sweet and interesting feedback. I was therefore taken aback when she asked if she could give me honest feedback. Does that make all the rest false? I squirmed on my seat. Almost all the time, honest feedback turns out to be brutal feedback. I hastily blurted out a YES whereas my mind kept yelling a NO. But really, as I heard from someone, compliments are the dessert of any meal. Sweet, smooth and rich. This wise person even went on to say that dessert calories never count. Good old critiquing, however, is the bone and the steak. Tough and quite difficult to handle, yet sweet and juicy when correctly masticated – the very chief of any meal.
So Mercy produced her laptop and we went over the article together. She kept highlighting these little errors in spacing, spelling, tenses and all sorts of grammatical errors. Minute but grave errors. My eyes became as huge as saucers every time she pointed to a mistake. I had proof read my work close to ten times. A cut and paste here, a delete there, even completely changing the structure of some sentences. I mean, if anyone had asked me to swear over my life with regards to the accuracy of my work, I would have loaded the gun myself! Yet here I was witnessing my work being torn apart piece by piece by detective Mercy.
I am still amazed at how oblivious I was to my errors. I had read past those spelling errors, skimmed through those punctuation mistakes without a second thought. Had I been reading what I had written or what I thought I had written? These thoughts are what flood my mind this evening. How blind I was to my own mistakes, to the very log in my eye! It took some new eyes to actually notice these mistakes.
This has me thinking, just how many times I have brushed aside the mistakes I have made, grammatical or otherwise. How many times had I looked past the things I had actually done and mistaken them for what I thought I had done? I stand up and walk into the kitchen. As I clean my cup, a cascade of thoughts flow in spiritedly, like the water from the tap!
I remember a few instances with my best friend Sam. Could what he keeps on saying be true? See, Sam always claims that I am curt and crisp whenever I am angry. His words come back to me strongly.
“You never want to speak anything out if you are in those temper fits. Like a wand, you swing your hand and expect me to keep quiet.” You see, I always thought he made this up. After all, I am the most vocal person this side of the Greenwich Meridian – even when angry! I voice my thoughts any time I deem it appropriate. Or do I? Could Sam be right? Maybe I do brood when angry but I just deny it. Could I be thinking of myself as my mind dictates rather than based on what I actually do?
I pick up the wash cloth and start cleaning the counter tops; still deeply in thought! This time I remember Kenneth from high school. I cannot call him a friend – an acquaintance maybe – and I remember him because of his words one evening as I was walking to class. He caught up with me as I silently strolled up Kamunchuluh Drive, one of the quiet paths back to class
He had some honest things he had to say. To him, I was a snob who thought himself better than most. I should calm down a little, loosen up and take life easy! With those words he sprang away humming ‘yahaya unaishi wapi’ leaving me not a little speechless. I had a busy evening that day silently cursing at my so called ‘haters’. Yet now, I carefully look at myself. Was I actually a proud, self-absorbed snob? Was this Kenneth guy right? Had I just taken his comments in the light I wanted to see them in or in the light of truth? I regurgitate words from many people. Their tone when saying them and the look in their eyes. Have I been covering all my errors under the guise of all other things other than truth? Have I been living wrong?
Breath in, breath out. I stop myself before I go too far. I have made many mistakes; I sadly realize. Some subtle, some glaring but just like my writing, my eyes could see neither. My mind read past them, my eyes saw what my mind had wanted to, not what I had done. Not what my mouth had said, not how my eyes had looked when saying the words. I was totally oblivious to my sins!
I am sure many Mercys have tried to correct these errors and many have failed. I sadly realize now that I have brushed aside many would be fruitful corrections! I was confident that I had proof read my actions and no other opinion mattered. Confident that I had sieved my words carefully and all my actions were right.
But then friends, I feel many of us are busy making mistakes without even being conscious about them. It is very difficult to see the log in our very own eyes even when it is glaring/blocking our view at us. We never do smell our odour, do we? That is why it is important to take honest feedback seriously. Brutal they may be, but they remain just that, honest!
If your friend feels you are a pessimist, chances are, you are. If someone you trust feels that you need to apologise over something – trivial as it may seem – maybe you actually should. It is these Mercys in our lives that make us see our self as we should. In the light of truth!
So friends, do a little soul searching. What feedback are you getting? Is it the sweet dessert or the rather tough steak? Do they think you need a shave? Because if they say so most probably you do! Do they feel that you need to take some rest? Then maybe you actually do need to slow down. The Mercys in our lives can see the log in our eyes, smell the odour on us. Listen to them, they see farther than we can!
What is your Mercy saying?