How does it feel to not fit in vs. to fit in? We often try our best to “fit in” socially, and in all ways of life. Yet, we blunder unintentionally. Then what?
Inspired by Dr. Gary’s confession of embarrassment, Dr. Jane, and Rev. David’s sharing about his embarrassment, I chose for today’s topic how I “do not fit in” but not to my embarrassment. How seriously do we take ourselves?
Many of you know that I was born in Germany. English is my second language. Imagine yourself in a foreign Country not knowing all the idioms – blundering right to left with what is desired to express. Here are a few of my blunders: (Please, be in a laughing mode.)
When I was just five years in the country, holding my first state job, I received a promotion to work in another part in the State Health Department of New Mexico. My replacement was a very lazy guy who had no ambition to do his best. Although I was somewhat a shy person, the German temperament came out of me. I told him to “get off his balls” to get the work done. I had no clue what I really said; it was totally innocent!
The word got around fast what I said, and people looked at me with a mixture of amusement and embarrassment.
At another time, we had company for dinner. Everyone liked what was served, and bragged about the food. I proclaimed: “Oh yes, we are living on a high hog.” Everyone laughed. I then was told how to say in right.
Embarrassed? No way – It was funny. I often wondered how Americans would do, if they would suddenly needed to speak German on a regular basis. This thought made me more compassionate – not only for others who struggle with a language barrier, but also with myself.
In the early days after my immigration, people talked to me about Hitler. They were on the “smear route” to express their disgust about the way German people accepted a leader like Hitler. My answer was always that people were misled (we, in the US were misled by politicians to accept Trump as our President. This happens in other countries as well.). Except – the German people were threatened to be shot, if they did not follow what Herr Fuehrer had in mind for them to follow to the point – like flying the Flag every day at each house. It was a very scary time for all innocent people who lived then in Germany.
My other answer was that I had nothing to do with Hitler because I was not even born then. This made them change the subject fast without an apology.
I am still not 100% knowledgeable about the language and idioms and never will be. If you hear me say something funny or odd, just laugh please, and enjoy the diversity in the use of the language! I am not embarrassed, and I’ve found a sense of humor to laugh about it myself when I find out what I really said.
How often do we in general misspeak, do bloopers and blunders? So what! This is just the outer layer we appear to be – not who we truly are.
The last big blooper (yes, there are more I will not share) I will share with you still sticks in our minds, and we still laugh about the totally innocent incident:
My husband and I came out of the Sante Fe, NM Hospital after we had seen a friend. As we stepped out of the door, a woman approached me with a serious look on her face. She whispered to me: “His Barn door is open!” I thought right away that she was a Jesus freak, and answered quickly: “Thank you, we like it that way!” She turned red, I almost heard her screaming within as she quickly hurriedly moved away from us. I asked my husband what this was all about. He knew of course. I never had heard this expression before in my life.
Thinking back, we were laughing aloud walking to the car. The woman was out of sight – there was no way to explain to her about the innocent remark that came out of my mouth.
The trouble in this world is that many language barriers create innocent misunderstandings, maybe hurt other’s feelings, bring out fear, hatred, and make enemies. I know that I do not “fit in” in this category in social, politically correct circles because I may say something unintentionally someone else might take in a wrong way. Yes, it is nice to “it in.” We forget who we truly are when we feel like outsiders, and odd balls. So what – we are all the same within, yet different in our expressions. Even the famous movie stars blunder, people in theaters, in public offices. A sense of humor and a positive attitude to bring out the laughter will quickly overcome what might have become embarrassing moments.
Let us turn within, and know that we do our best, being connected with all life and life forms, and keep smiling. Turn within – not to look at the illusion of differences, for we are all one in God. Understanding diversities on all levels and in all ways of life also helps that we experience ourselves to “fit in” just the way we are, be peaceful regardless of what comes across to others out of our mouth, and what others may think of us. So be it, and so it is.
A dedicated prayer chaplain ©