Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Kindest Compliment

The kindest thing I heard today…

“Joan, I admire your ability to self-advocate.”

This was at the end of a conversation that started while I was focused on setting up the sound system at church. Normally, it’s no big deal but today’s sermon was about recognizing and letting go of our resistance to change. So the minister set up the room backwards. No big deal, just face the chairs a different way, move the lectern, right?

Well, I was running the sound system, and this is not as easy to modify. The speakers in front of a microphone may cause feedback, and our hardwired cables are not configured to run from the back of the room. So I was thinking on the fly, ad-libbing, adjusting for last minute changes, and doing all those things that no longer come naturally for me. Demands on my brain are exhausting. Change, for me, is exhausting. I recognize that it happens, but I also recognize the physical impact it has on me and I have learned some coping strategies.

A nice woman came up to me and said, “Joan, I need to talk to you but I see that you are busy so I will send you an e-mail.” She has a child with a cognitive disability so she recognizes stress in other people, even when not so obvious. I thanked her for being one of the few people who truly understands when I blow them off. That’s when she surprised me by saying “I admire your ability to self-advocate.” She recognizes when I draw boundaries and doesn’t take it personally.

Now if that had happened at my old job, I would soon be called into the manager’s office to get yelled at for being rude to co-workers.  If that had happened at a family event, there would be a phone call scolding me or an e-mail dripping with disappointment in me.

I’ll share a quote whose source is unknown:

For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t understand, no explanation is possible.

Thus my life motto: “no complaining, no explaining.”

Thank you to everyone who needs no explanation.


  1. Well communicated Joan. Life is good. No matter how hard one has to live it. Alan

  2. I like the fact that you can do the sound system at your church, it sounds hard to me. i like your attitude!

  3. Hi Joan,

    Love the motto you conclude this post with.

    Coming from an ex-sound engineer who now has MS and the associated brain fog, I admire the work you are doing for the church.

    I have my own blog which I am currently updating and as I have a link to your site I was just checking in to see that the site was still here.

  4. Great Job, running a sound system is not a easy work. I just like your thought that "who understand, no explanation is necessary.who don’t understand, no explanation is possible".Thanks for sharing.