Thursday, September 2, 2010

Caution...rant zone...

I am such a friggen coward. Man alive, sometimes I irritate myself. I know, I know, I am supposed to be kind to myself. At the same time, there are a million and one Facebook pages that gleefully encourage me to drop-kick the idiots in my life into kingdom come. Nobody ever seems to question...what if we are the idiots?

"I'm not b*tchy, I just have a low tolerance for bullsh*t". Including my own? "If he doesn't love me at my worst, then he doesn't deserve me at my best" Does the same go for you, if you don't love him at his worst? Ah, one never thinks about these things, does one?

When I get cranky, I tend to get contrary. And when I get contrary, one of my pet peeves is people who think everyone else is the problem.

We make mistakes, mess up someone's day, week, life, we feel bad about ourselves, indulge in a bit of verbal self-flagellation, seek out and talk to friends who quickly reassure us of our inherent wonderfulness and continue on with life secure in the fact that we are human and everyone makes mistakes. Sure, when we think about it, we cringe a bit, but all we have to do is recall the victim of our mistake and their totally inappropriate, over-the-top, bad-a$$ reaction to our mere humanness, and we can relax. It was probably karma, anyway.

Someone messes with us, on the other hand, and all hell breaks loose. The whole "humans make mistakes" thing becomes completely irrelevant. Not those kinds of mistakes. Not to ME!!!! Not without blood to show for it! Or at least a bit of cash...

You know, I get it, I really do. It hurts to...well, get hurt. I've had my share of life crashes and carry a few internal (and external) scars to prove it. And sometimes, the memories sting. Ache. Shriek. And yes, reality bites, because sometimes the reality is that we are not the best parents, children, partners, tenants, employees, or friends in the world. Sometimes I literally have to warn my family that I am feeling irritable and could blow at any moment. What difference does it make to them that the cause is chronic pain or fatigue or PMS or a apocalyptic chocolate shortage at the local IGA? Tiptoeing around an emotional time bomb is tiptoeing around an emotional time bomb, no matter what the reason. Can I really afford to get snarky with them when they get a bit testy with me at times?

The Bible has a really good principle that relates to this kind of thing, thought up, I am sure, by a God who knows a lot more about our individual snarky, snappy, idiot-ness than He cares to.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..." Matthew 7:12

Catch that? It's not, do to others what they have done to you. It's do to others what you would have them do to you. Treat the world and all it's blunders as you would like the world to treat you and all your blunders. And if at this point you are tempted to say that you have no blunders, then do me a favor and smack yourself upside the head for me, right now, okay?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can't stand waitresses that aren't efficient because you won awards at proficiency while waitressing your way through college. But what if you hadn't? What if you were lousy at it, too. Or, what about all the other things you are lousy at? Treat her like you want your family to treat you the next time you make that dang-awful tuna casserole for supper. Or the next time your dog barrels out of the house to plant matching paw prints on the postman's chest because you've never even heard of Cesar Milan.

It's a win-win situation, you know. It takes a huge amount of effort to feign perfection. Plus, no-one's buying it. Grace given is grace received. We give ourselves a gift when we choose kindness and understanding rather than righteous indignation and rage. Picture your kids in the audience of your life. Who do you want them to see? Gentle, patient mom? Self-controlled, tolerant dad? We boast about not tolerating idiots because we think we're making it perfectly clear that we aren't idiots. It's not that easy. What if we are idiots? What's the worst that can happen? Gentleness and patience works both ways, you know.

I know a man who has some serious anger issues. He denies it vehemently. Angrily. What he cannot see is that his wife and daughter already know that he has anger issues, and they love him regardless. They think he is great. They're glad he's theirs. Is he protecting himself from the knowledge of his weakness? Or is he shielding himself from the wonder and joy of his family's unconditional love for him? He can't have the full experience of their love until he faces the truth about his own idiot-ness.

But really, when you think about it, it's a sweet deal all the way around.

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