one of our big projects this summer was to get wedding and engagement pictures printed, framed and hung on our (up until today) blank picture wall. as the picture above evidences, i finally got that done today. our picture wall isn’t done because there’s obviously room for more pictures, but it’s at least presentable and could stay like that and be complete.
of course, framing and hanging were the easy parts. it was PICKING the pictures that was the most time consuming thing. we have on file 86 engagement pictures and 628 wedding pictures. there are 12 pictures hanging on that wall. that makes for a LOT of pictures that were left out. i remember sorting through, first taking the ones that really grabbed my eye, and then having to narrow and narrow, looking more and more closely at each picture to decide if it was one that i could live with not having on a wall. so we finally narrowed our pictures down to, currently, 14 hanging in the apartment.
isn’t that same thing so true with life? as i go along living my life, i encounter things that catch my eye but there’s simply so much and so many that i have to narrow them down. i have to scrutinize everything that comes across my path so that life can stay, if nothing else, manageable. there are so many things i like, so many things i’d want to display but that’s simply unrealistic. even if i had the time and space and money, if i displayed everything (like all 714 photos), it would be so cluttered and overwhelming that the good things (or pictures) would simply be lost in a mess of stuff (or pictures).
the same thing is true of the with whom i choose to surround myself. i have to pick and choose those who allow and bring out the absolute best in myself. i scrutinize their lives, their attitudes, their priorities, and even their language to determine if i want them hanging on my wall. i’m slowly learning the importance of discerning who i choose to give my time, money or talents to. there are so many people who want one (or more) of those three from everyone. there are so many who want people to join their team, sell their stuff, buy their stuff, donate to their cause, support their people and more that it’s impossible to do it all. and these are just the LEGIT people. then you have the people who use an organization or a name to further their own selfish purposes. it’s incredibly hard to tell the difference sometimes.
i’m generally a very trusting person, i want to believe the best about everyone and that people do, in fact, mean what they say. i’m slowly learning that this is not the case. i’m learning that people lie through their teeth to say what people want to hear to get people to do what they want to do. and it’s not even for money. sometimes it’s manipulating friends and family. sometimes it’s as simple as absolute self-absorption, to the point where they barely even notice what they’re doing and only realize it when they’ve pushed everyone away.
it’s hard for me to accept the people are, at the very core of their being, selfish and looking out for only themselves. i do it. my husband does it. my parents do it. my friends do it. i understand the difficulty of trying to push aside self to focus on others (to a healthy degree, of course). i understand how difficult life is, and so therefore, i absolutely see and embrace the need to watch with whom i associate myself. i want people to know, beyond a shadow of doubt, who i am and where i stand and what i believe in. i don’t want people to assume they know, i want them to REALLY know. of course, the simplest way to do that is to tell people to their faces. however, i know that people don’t want that. if they want to know about me, i want to be able to give them plenty of nonverbal evidence (and i’m not talking slogan t-shirts). i want to be the kind of person that people WANT to associate with. i’m a very social person and so it is almost devastating to me when i have finally come to the conclusion that a friendship must be severed. i’m fairly awkward in acquaintance relationships (ok, pretty darn awkward) and situations and so i try to move as quickly as possible into the friend realm. i want to get that familiarity. unfortunately, that sometimes means that i overlook blatantly obvious signs about a person and blaze ahead into the friendship anyway. sometimes i overlook red flags in organizations that want me, my help, my time, my money so that i can make connections.
i’ve been humbled lately to really see on whose picture walls i live and to see from whose picture walls i’ve been taken down. i just hope that in the future, i will remember that just because there is room, that doesn’t mean that it is good, appropriate, or helpful to display or help out. i need to remember that discernment is the most effective way to keep life manageable and to keep some from taking advantage of me. pictures are wonderful things to have on the wall. they tell the story of who i am. the question is, what kind of a story are they telling?