Monday, August 27, 2007

When Fine Is Not So Fine... Or Maybe It Is!


Several months after Daniel was born, Todd and I had a formal outing. I ditched my sweet-potato-dotted mommy duds for the occasion and slipped into a pretty black velvet dress. I curled my hair, applied lots of mascara and eye liner, and opted for a dark shade of lipstick. The look was very "un-me" but different enough to stop Todd in his tracks, I thought. I stepped into the foyer all painted and fluffed and announced dramatically: "Well? How do I look?"

There was a moment of silence as I tilted my head ever so slightly in anticipation of the string of adjectives which would most assuredly pour forth. Stunning! Magnificent! Wowee! Zowee! Hubba Hubba! What would he say, I wondered excitedly!

Then out it flopped: "You look fine."

Fine? Did he say that I look fine? That's what he said! I've just spent an hour of my life transforming myself from Mother Earth to Hot Mama and all I get is a fine?

My eyes narrowed like a pouncing salamander (they do pounce, don't they?) and I began to breathe fast and shallow. My Scottish anscestors would no doubt have been somewhat proud of my acidic reply: "Fine," I seethed, "That's what you tell a burn victim!" At that, I turned on my non-sensible heels and left Todd standing there no doubt wondering why I had just combusted over this very nice thing he just said.

The Facts: Words mean different things to different people.

The word "fine" to Todd might mean "I'm over the moon with respect to feelings I can scarcely contain!" (or something like that). While the word "fine" to me means something between doom and desolation. Bland, lifeless, mediocore, boring, stale, a barely breathing dog on the side of the road. That's what "fine" means to me.

So with this bit of history, I nearly fell on the floor laughing as I read about a similar incident in the book, Getting Along with Almost Anybody, by Florence and Marita Littauer. One of the contributors to this book recounted the time she had slaved in the kitchen preparing a special multi-course breakfast for her husband. Anticipating a heap of accolades and praise, she said "Well? How does it taste?"

To which her husband replied: "Fine."

Ouch.

My Monday morning group read Getting Along and we met to talk about it last week. Several of us found it extremely helpful as we reflect on all of our relationships. The book covers a lot of ground... marriage, re-marriage, children, friendships, employment, education, doctors, finance, ministry... if it's a relationship arena, it's probably addressed in this book.

There's a personality inventory (similar to the golden retriever, otter, lion, beaver assessment you may be familiar with) at the end of the book which is extremely helpful. Todd and I took the profile and also completed one for each of our children, which has proved very insightful. And it's written from the Christian perspective. Check it out! It just might explain some things that have left you wondering all these years!

On my iPod... Mystery Achievement by The Pretenders

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