So Sorry

By

I’m freezing. I’m hungry. I’m surly. I’ve been scolded, twice in one day. Not the usual average for a girl who avoids confrontation at any and all costs and feels at her lowest after even the slightest sting of a tongue lashing. Both instances were ones where I thought I could get a cheap laugh and ended up hurting, alienating or irking people. See, the thing about avoiding confrontation is that, well, no one confronts you. You breeze through life just barely whispering past any real discourse about your faults in the particular department of relationship. Passivity can be delightful, but it’s just that: passive. And cowardly. And selfish.

The woman I hope to be is not crass, nor is she thoughtless, nor, for heaven’s sake, catty. These are all traits I know I am fully capable of. Not only am I capable, I’m well-rehearsed. Family members of mine could attest to this in spades. I’ve got some zingers up my sleeve and I seem to pull them out at the most inopportune, harmful times. (Well, zingers should probably always stay up the sleeve where a serious lack of ventilation will suffocate their potency and vigor.) Have you seen a man who is quick with his tongue? There is more hope for a foolish man than for him. (Proverbs 29:20). Ouch.

4009120069_73576484d3_bI’ll never forget one Valentine’s Day back in ’88 or somewhere around there, I was over at a friend’s house and we were busily filling out those little perforated Valentine cards from Walgreen’s (I think mine were Snoopy ones) for all of our classmates. I was helping this pal of mine who was about four years my junior fill hers out for school the following day. I thought it would be really hilarious to make up mean little poems for the boys, because you know, boys were gross. I don’t need to tell much more of the story except for the part where her mom called and reamed me out, and rightfully so. I cried, oh. How I cried. I went to mom and told her the whole story, through much snot and sniffling. She gave me some sympathetic squeezes, listened well, and then was the first one to tell me that I had been unloving and insensitive. Unfortunately, the day had already come where hiding behind her thigh was no longer an option. It didn’t quite hide me and my shame the way it used to.

So when I am scolded, confronted, approached, how then do I conduct myself? What my brain wants is to shake it off and deliver one of my well-crafted zingers right back, to give the appearance that I haven’t effectively been cut down to size, that I’m contentedly cold to the heat of tension. But what my spirit tells me is to calmly pave over the rift, admit to my obtuseness and move on with grace and more awareness, having learned the lesson that was put there for me to learn. I also try to remember to operate under the assumption that if someone cares enough to confront me, it could mean that they care enough about me and who I am forever becoming to step in and help the process along. Iron sharpens iron.


5 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Thank you, Evie, for posting that. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Oh how we need those faithful wounds.

  2. Profile photo of Ron Block

    Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Thanks, Evie.

    Those “faithful wounds,” especially of a parent, call us into being who we’re really meant to be. I had an episode with my kids (11, 9) yesterday where my daughter said something uncharitable to their classmates about her brother (small school, same classroom). He was torn up by it because he was worried about what his friends thought.

    I first addressed her and told her to look at her brother, and how he was feeling, and was that price worth it? I said that people often use words to get a sense of power or pleasure, and they can be misused. When I asked her to apologize to him, she really meant it. Then we talked about how to make it right the next day at school.

    With my son, he was torn up by “What my friends think.” I spoke to him about how many times in my life I’ve been torn up by the same feeling, and how torturous it is, and how I’ve learned to let go of caring what others think (but not what others feel) by making sure I care and realize so much more what God thinks of me. That I don’t need to have the good opinion of other people if I trust God and do the right thing.

    There were a few “faithful wounds” scattered in all this talk, where I dressed both of them down for these subtle attitudes. But there was also the binding up. By the time we got out of the van, the storm had passed, and we all had a lot to think about.

    God sometimes prunes us in the same way. His intention is to lead us into being who we really are – to leave the grave clothes at the Tomb.

  3. Jaclyn

    Thank you Evie and everyone for the early morning sharpening.

    I think I’ve finally abandoned my mother’s thigh as hiding place (well, she kinda nudged me off). Leaning on God’s arms lets me stand without hunching.

  4. Leah

    I love that “this was written for me” feeling. I have found myself in the same situation more frequently than I would like lately. I appreciate your openness and vulnerability. There is something comforting about knowing we’re not the only ones on this journey of being made into Christ’s likeness. As my flesh cries out to shift the blame to those who are offended (shouldn’t they just suck it up?) I have been reminded repeatedly of Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” God placed us here to be in relationship with Him, but also to be in relationship with eachother. What a messy, trecherous, and beautiful thing our relationships can be. These are the times when I am sharply reminded that the only beauty in my life comes through God’s LIfe in me. And I am thankful.

  5. Peter B

    Proverbs 29:20. Ouch indeed.

    What’s funny is that I can see how far God has taken me over the years, and yet that verse still stings. So far yet to go… so much grace yet to experience.

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