Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wounded Hearts

Sometimes I'm a hot head. Sometimes I'm reactive. When I'm "done wrong", I want to retaliate. Usually it's my mouth (I've never been physical - but my tongue is lethal, I'm afraid). If I'm not speaking to the person who has offended me (because I really am a non-confrontational person), I'm burning you in my mind. Or (worse), I vent to a loved one/friend about you. And because they love me, they back me up. They never really emotionally gut-check me.

But they totally should.

Some days, I'm "good" and your attitude/behavior/speech do not offend me. It just rolls off my back and I don't give it another thought.

Still other days, I'm "great" and I analyze your attitude/behavior/speech and wonder why you're behaving how you're behaving.

I'm smart enough to know that I am never great, but sometimes I'm connected to my fellow man and I act how I should (all the time) and am empathetic. I'm understanding. I'm quasi-wise and realize it's not about me because - let's face it - the world doesn't revolve around me.

But what if I did do something to warrant the affront?

Something happened to me just this week. I didn't do anything, but be me. And while I'm not the problem, what was perceived was a very big problem.

Earlier this week, Baby Girl and I went to our local convenience store to get sodas for The Man Beat, the Man Child, Baby Girl and myself.

I was wearing a shirt with this message:
picmonkey



Understand that in the South, this is not an offensive shirt.

Except that it was. To one person.

And it wasn't so much in what he said - he didn't say anything about the shirt - it was all in how he said what he said. What had been a jovial and highly spirited individual to the customer ahead of me turned into a sullen and short-tempered clerk when I approached the counter with my purchases.

I am one of those people. I smile. I kid. I make small talk. Most of the time, if someone is having a bad day, I don't exacerbate it by being a jerk. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, I want to at least make their day better while I'm in their world. (Dreamer and Idealist, Level 50)

Even still, I am of the opinion, that no matter what has been done wrong to you, I did not do it so you need to clean up your attitude. If I don't give you attitude, please do not give me attitude. This is just how I am. Is it right? I don't know. But it's how I am.

No matter what I did, this dude was not having any of it.

And at first, I was angry. And I said as much, in the car, to Baby Girl. (Not my finest mothering moment, I'll grant you).

But then I got a heavy, heavy heart. And I started thinking, out loud. (A better mothering moment).

Maybe, I theorized to Baby Girl, this individual had been offended by my shirt. And maybe, he wasn't offended so much by my shirt as what my shirt represented. Maybe he had been "done wrong" by a Christian. Maybe in light of the recent Orlando shootings, he's associating all hate toward the homosexual community as involving Christians.

Maybe.

Of course, there is no way for me to really know what the clerk was thinking or feeling. I guess I could have gone back and asked, but in reality, it probably would have stirred up more problems than it solved.

But it did get me to thinking about what I represent. It has been suggested that oftentimes, you are the only Bible someone will read. While I'm not sure that's entirely true, I do think we become the face of what we represent. What an awesome responsibility this is! If you are the only chance at positive exposure toward an idea, how would it change how you act?

The only thing I thought about this individual after my initial hurt ego, was that he must have had a bad experience with something that I represented. I can assume it was my shirt. But it might not have been. I could assume all day and probably not even get close to the real reason for his sudden behavior change.

But that's not the point. The point is that I need to be sure that I'm putting my best face forward. I won't be perfect. I'll show my butt, on occasion. I'll miss the opportunity. I'll falter. But, now that I'm aware of what I feel I really need to do, I can work toward doing it. Not perfectly, mind you. But making the gallant effort.

What does this look like? For me, it means love. Just love. And loving doesn't have a thing to do with lifestyle, race, or religion. It just is. It just does. That other stuff? I need to let the Creator deal with that. I have one job.

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