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That’s not what I meant

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

Dec. 14, 2022

It’s a quirky thing in one of my online Catholic groups, one just for women. To give our husbands a measure of privacy, participants don’t use husbands’ first names in our online conversations.

Somehow it became relatively common to see group members refer to their husbands as Mr. (woman’s first name). So, a group participant named Eve Smith might refer to her husband as “Mr. Eve.”

I was talking about this convention with my husband one day.

“I just can’t bring myself to call you ‘Mr. Darcy.’ That name is taken.”

“Oh yeah,” my husband said. “The character from ‘Married With Children.’”

I was both shocked and entertained.

“No,” I emphatically responded. “The character from ‘Pride and Prejudice!’”

For those who don’t know, “Married With Children” is a TV comedy from the ‘80s and ‘90s. While I haven’t seen many episodes, I’d refer to it as crude humor (likely targeting young men, which my husband was at that time).

“Pride and Prejudice” is a novel written by Jane Austen in 1813. It’s a classic.

What “Mr. Darcy” meant to me was not what “Mr. Darcy” meant to my husband.

I’ve had similar experiences in my spiritual life.

I fondly recall participating in a program on Lectio Divina, a method of praying with scripture, with a group of women a few years ago. Our group discussions revealed many instances when two of us focused our prayer and meditations on the same line(s) or same few words of scripture, but we’d taken completely different messages and/or meanings from it.

I much less fondly recall a time when I was talking with a group of friends about the importance of the Church in my life, and one friend in the group pointed out that I was talking as though my experience and description of the Church was as universal as the Church itself. Her experience of Church was very different.

It’s common for me to stop and pray that the Holy Spirit speaks through me before I do anything involving public speaking – serving as a lector, presenting to one of my groups/organizations or talking in my professional life. I’ve been trying to make it a habit to do that at the start of my day, as well, praying the Holy Spirit speaks through me that day.

Because in communications, intended and perceived meaning can be quirky things.

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