"I have a hard time liking anyone"

Henderson’s church building caught on fire Sunday morning—a small electrical thing, but big enough to fill the auditorium with smoke and necessitate canceling a.m. services—and so I got the chance to visit. I hardly ever get to visit other churches being a preacher’s wife, so I was pretty excited about it.

During the sermon, Justin leaned over to me and whispered, “He’s pretty good, right?” Thinking about how much I like Justin’s preaching and how this didn’t really compare for me, I pulled out my pen, and quickly wrote “I have a hard time liking anyone.” As soon as I saw the words on the page I was embarrassed.

What a terrible thing to write, to think. I meant that because I like hearing Justin so much (and Daniel, too) I have a hard time enjoying other preachers. And while I thought that sentiment was innocuous—and really just a compliment for them—I’ve realized since that it was indicative of a serious attitude problem.

Sometimes I do have a hard time liking people, especially when I’m trying to compare one person to another. When I compare teachers or hair stylists or waitresses or preachers or friends or children I inevitably set myself up for disliking.

Case in point: My failed attempt at finding a hair stylist since moving to TN from Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, my friend Neil cut my hair. He worked at a swanky Manhattan salon but gave me free haircuts in my living room—the best haircuts of my life. Since then, I’ve been unable to match that experience—and so I describe every haircut, every hair stylist, as “terrible.” They’re not terrible, though. They’re fine, maybe even good. But I can’t see that because they’re not as good as what I once had.

What a stupid way to see the world.

If I can’t enjoy what’s good because it’s not what’s better, I’m missing out on all kinds of happiness. No, Jackson is not New York, but I can still enjoy a night on the town. My daughter’s art work is far from Van Gogh, but I still like it. The clothes I buy, the food I eat at lunch, the TV I watch, all of those decisions require an ability to appreciate something good but not necessarily great.

With that preacher on Sunday, I limited his potential effect on me by comparing him to someone I deemed better. I closed myself off to the good because it wasn’t best. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.