Most of us are used to them by now-those photo filters that can turn an awful picture into a dreamy masterpiece.
The same filters can take a perfectly lovely photo and distort it into something comical or worse.
Our minds are like that.
When we see things, hear things, experience things-we are filtering them through our own experience, emotional state, physical condition and biases.
As a bereaved parent, I’ve got to be very, very careful I don’t misinterpret other people’s words, actions and intentions.
It’s easy sometimes for me to feel like someone is purposefully seeking to harm me when all they are doing is acting in ignorance.
I can be quick to assume that a person’s absence is avoidance instead of simply a function of an overbusy schedule.
I can take words and twist them to mean something very different than what was intended because my heart hears everything through the filter of loss.
If I don’t constantly remind myself, I forget that if someone else hasn’t experienced child loss they really, truly HAVE NO CLUE what it feels like to walk in my shoes.
Because if I don’t, I spend most of my time hurt, licking my wounds in the corner and avoiding the very people that can help my heart heal.
Do other people have a responsibility to try to understand?
Of course they do!
But I also have a responsibility to try to see their hearts and not only their actions.
I need to check my own filters to make sure I’m not placing blame where there is none.
I should give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.