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.
I’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.