Internal battles are my stock in trade. But what a pain when I have a job to do, or don’t feel well, or its past my bedtime.
The other night, this person, did this thing. My battle started with condemnation right off the bat. “What a d-bag! Legalistic-rule-following-graceless-pig!” That type of refrain went on in my head for a good while. I’m not ashamed to admit it, it is what it is, ya know? I didn’t sort it out until I shared my lovely thoughts with my son. His response added insult to injury…”Well Mom, you did screw up.” Huh, annoying little pipsqueak, last time I tell you anything!
Where did he learn to bring reason in a moment of strong emotion? Classic, right? I have been modeling that for him for years, or trying to. I make him get control of his anger blasts when he shoots one off. I ask him to rationally think through knee-jerk indignations. How annoying! God, help me let him spit it out of his system for a few before demanding reasonable thought at unreasonable moments. Forever and ever amen.
It’s not really a big deal. My original complaint was not that my mistake was pointed out. It was how it was done. It was swift. It was harsh. I kept thinking, give me a break you little…
But seriously, did I give him a break? I was quick to fire off some choice insults, in my head anyway. Isn’t it possible that he had experienced a shitty day like I had? Maybe he had gotten caught in that same mistake in the past and was trying to play fair? I don’t really know, maybe he is a prick, but maybe he isn’t. I’m thinking now, if it’s grace and kindness I want, shouldn’t I offer it as well? It was just a nit for heaven’s sake, he didn’t run over a baby squirrel.
My other son and I were talking, (well “meme-ing”) about not wanting people to “put us in boxes,” so to speak. We are both irked when we are judged by a moment, or a word, or a joke, or a mood, or a mis-step. Because we know that is not all we are. Of course we don’t mind being judged when we have a good moment, but whatever.
Think about it, if I am easily torked off by someone else’s quick judgement, am I not doing the same thing to them? Assuming the worst from a moment? I believe it is, because I felt crappy after having all those thoughts about a random person who I know nothing about.
I want to be better. When someone does something that rubs me the wrong way, I want to be the type that gives grace in that moment. I know I do it with those I am in relationship with, why not expand it in day-to-day run-ins?
On the other hand, the very next morning I had an encounter with an employee at a doctor’s office. This chick wasn’t exactly circumspect in what she said to my son, but geez was she sweet. She was carefree, pleasant, interesting and full of grace. It was her manner that was joyful. It didn’t really matter that what she said could have been taken a little offensively. She wasn’t offensive. If she had the manner of the guy from the night before, I would have been seeing red! But she made it easy to be graceful in return.
Another goal to add to my list. Watch not just what I say, but how I say it and when I say it. Except for the blog, of course, I’m just thinking out loud here. Don’t tell my editors…
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6