Because I am 93, no one believes that Lorena wears my clothes. The manager thinks I am imagining things. I looked out the window and saw her down in the parking lot getting into her car in my Bill Blass red silk dress last night. How can I get the front office to believe me and stop this raid on my closet?
A: Get one of your great-grandkids to set up a hidden camera. Put your closet (and possibly your parking lot view) under video surveillance. Then you can catch the devil with the red dress on. The manager won’t be able to refute such evidence.
By the way, I like you. You are a pip!
Q: I’ve recently been told someone can’t stand to read my Facebook posts because all of them are attention-seeking. This actually surprises me because in many of my posts I share good info, especially on deals or coupons on contests I know about so that others can be privy to that information. My question is, isn’t anything anyone posts on Facebook attention-seeking, as that’s the whole point — to share?
A: Yes. However, here’s my question for you: Why not get better friends? Both the person who detests your posts and the sap who reported it need to exercise their right to remain silent.
Q: I keep hearing about people being tired of having family and friends calling and dumping on them. It occurs to me that one should check in with their hearts before declaring everyone emotional freeloaders. I do think there is a difference between dumping and needing a compassionate sounding board (with boundaries). Isn’t it more a function of how the person receiving the information perceives it? Depending on the circumstance and the situation of the “dumper,” it could also be an opportunity for sacred service. Shouldn’t we be more careful that our boundaries don’t wall off our hearts?
A: Yes, compassion should be our response. But sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a self-destructive dumper is to disallow the dumping and redirect it to a positive place.
As I’ve said before, compassion is not passive — whether it’s active listening or actively refusing to let someone inflict further suffering. Still, I find that the times folks need a listening ear far outnumber the occasions that call for something else. When in doubt, be quiet and pay attention to what they are saying. Words from us are often not necessary.
One more thing: It doesn’t mean much if you’re only “compassionate” when it’s convenient for you. It is precisely when you don’t want to be bothered that you should stop and offer kindness. As William Blake said, “Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.” I doubt an angel will show up at a time and place that works around your busy schedule.
Also remember that we’re teaching one another as we go. Your compassion will reverberate. Keep it in motion.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.