Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hamstrung By Our Own Naivete

Over the past month my husband and I have taken time to analyze some mistakes we have made in the past and finally been able to figure out why we erred so grievously as to injure ourselves so deeply.  We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Our errors in judgement have mostly been based on our own naivete.  I have always known I am a bit of a Pollyanna type, unable or just unwilling to see the depth of hatred or anger or jealousy or bitterness in other people and how it effects their actions, but I hadn't realized until very recently how very much my husband is the same way.

We were talking specifically this week about a construction project he was on once that brought about emotional hurts so deep that at the time I wondered if he would ever recover and be able to work again.  Why did it come to that?  Well, naivete was the culprit.  When leaders on the project told us that everyone involved was on board and ready to support it, we just believed it and subsequently entered our own version of hell on earth.  We had no idea that the hatred of a few of people, one with severe emotional problems and a couple who felt they had been denied their own chance to run the project, would result in horrendous lies being told about my husband that pretty much resulted in him being ousted from the premises.  We were too stupid to understand that the others who had the position and ability to deal with these people were too frightened of them to stand up for my husband in public, despite their many many calls to our home saying they knew very well that what was being said were all lies.  We made a bad assumption that construction companies and contractors would be of a similar mindset as those in other places we had worked and had no concept for far too long of the depth of laziness and complete refusal to take direction from a supervisor who was not born and raised in their home province and who actually knew what he was doing.  The resentment was palpable when he would call them to account for shoddy work.  He ran into the same mentality with materials suppliers.  It was like living in a cartoon for us and I think our own refusal to believe that people could be so ridiculous, immature and lazy is what bit us in the butt in the end of it all.  The other people were who they were but it was us who were too naive and unbelieving to accept the seriousness of the problems being created. We paid a heavy price for our own ignorance.

We sat around talking this morning for awhile, finally able to talk about it all without tears and self-recrimination for the first time in years.  As a result of that single project we are not only older but far wiser and that is a good lesson to have last.  When we took on the project we had to leave a church ministry where the leaders of it were showing up on our doorstep as we were packing to leave, begging us to stay.  We look back now and realize we could easily have done that but we had made a committment to the construction work and thought we were doing the right thing.  Perhaps in the end we did.  However, we do wonder what would have happened had we stayed put. Fortunately that church took their time finding a new pastor who has been wonderful for them and is still with them, so we have no regrets for leaving those folk because of the good things that happened there since.  It was good to talk about it without kicking ourselves any more for having left the place.

So, there has been a lot of healing that has taken a very long time. We made assumptions about about a project and a people that proved disastrously incorrect.  We did not ask questions.  We did not dig deeply into the situation before my husband agreed to take it on.  We did not realize a lot of things that we could have discovered if we had not been so unbelievably naive. Looking even farther back into the past we see the same pattern emerging in other situations where comments were made and situations arose that we didn't understand.  None were nearly as soul destroying as the one I mention here, but again, whatever happened that was bad was mostly our own fault, for the same reason...naivete.

It is a lesson that is standing us both in good stead these days.  It is possible to be less naive without becoming cynical and bitter.  That is another good lesson that I am glad we had a chance to learn.

Life moves on, old problems and hurts pass away. Learning from them is the best way to deal with them all. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to see what has been going on to one degree or another all our adult lives.  We are never too old to learn apparently! YAY!!

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