Today’s Friday Freebie is a wonderful little metal “chop” – a steel stamp of the Chinese ideogram for the word “understanding.” When I ordered several of these little chops because I liked the design, I took the concept for granted, figuring I totally understood what understanding means. But it got me to thinking – what is “understanding,” anyway?
The first definition of understanding is “a mental grasp, a comprehension.” Easy. But, whoa, read on – understanding is also defined as, “a willingness to understand people’s behavior and forgive them.” That’s HUGE. First you have to be willing to “understand” a person’s behavior (which sometimes seems quite impossible), and then you have to be able to empathize enough to forgive them. Yikes.
I always equated understanding with comprehension – like, “I understand some Spanish but I can’t speak it”. Understanding someone’s actions and why they do what they do is a lot more complicated. From now on, when I use this little “understanding” chop on a clay piece or in an encaustic collage, it will remind me of that deeper, more compassionate meaning of the word. And I’ll try to be more understanding.
If you are a SHARDS subscriber by midnight on Sunday, you will have a chance to win this little chop – and if all this rambling seems a little too philosophical, I hope you will understand and forgive me. 🙂 TGIF, Y’all.