.... or something like that.
Today on my social network page, a friend, someone I haven't seen in over 40 years and who wasn't really a friend but married a friend of my then boyfriend (and that's a long story), anyway, this poor dear woman was explaining about all the physical woes she's experienced in the last month which truly are awful and I'm sure are seriously demoralizing to the psyche, and in general she was just plainly having a pity party and venting.
I posted a comment that I thought I needed to add her to my prayer list. (And I have.)
Someone else then commented, and this is a quote exactly as typed: "my
goodness, i can't imagine prayers and yes you are titled to a pitty party, but
bounce back quick..."
Now, when I read that, my thoughts immediately took it to mean that she couldn't imagine prayers would help, and I had all these "well, what an awful thing to say" thoughts run through my head. Why would anyone post something so, to me, offensive as to say she couldn't imagine prayers? I know the lady is not a believer, but even most unbelievers appreciate that someone would pray for them. I was tempted to further comment, but restrained and decided, well maybe she closely knew the friend and that was them and their thoughts. And I walked away from it.
Later, I came back and saw others had added their sentiments, and the friend had "liked" my comment. In re-reading the one comment, it dawned on me that the problem was not in what was said, but in punctuation! If you put a comma between imagine and prayers, it changes the whole meaning. 'i can't imagine' becomes a reaction of disbelief of all the poor woman went through, and prayers becomes the commenter also adding prayers.
I suppose the lessons are 1) deciphering is sometimes necessary to really understand something typed - especially on social media, and 2) I should never rush to judgement about what someone might intend in what they wrote - especially when punctuation is lacking!