So here it goes, the great confession: I’m going to be 50 this year…the great five oh. Well, that was no secret so not much of a confession. But what amazes me about myself is that at almost 50, I still worry what people think of me. Why can’t I be a little bit more like Maxine?
One of the things I stress to my kids is to take responsibility for their feelings. Someone once taught me that you have a choice for how you feel. You can choose to be offended or to see it in a different perspective. I believe that. For example, at work the other day, one of my employees was distressed that I wasn’t going to force someone else to stop doing something silly. My karate coach (ok, I’m supposed to call him Master…just can’t do it…I only have one Master and He doesn’t force me to do a bajillion kicks until my muscles turn to jelly…but I digress) taught me (and my kids) a phrase: Choose your battles with sense and honor. Well, the battle at work had no honor and it didn’t make much sense. Sometimes it is just best to ignore the ridiculous. All this leads up to my employee storming away in a hissy fit spouting that she wished someone in our workplace would grow some cajones. That in itself I found hysterical since most of the men that I work with might have cajones but wouldn’t know where to find them or how to use them. But you’ll have to go to previous posts to understand that comment.
My point is that I could have gone home feeling insulted thinking that my employee didn’t think I had the guts to do what she perceived to be my job. Or I could find the humor in the situation and move on. I chose the latter as I’m sure you surmised. It’s funny but at work, I can take that path without hesitation. I’m not sure if it is because I’ve had so much practice or if I don’t hold people there is an high regard. It’s definitely not a conscious decision …so, in some respect, it’s troubling to think that I am not bothered by what they think.
But then there are my friends, specifically my church friends. I think I hold them in such high regard that I’m afraid to let them see the real me, warts and all. It is kind of difficult typing this since I know at least one of them will probably read it. And it seems counter intuitive to feel this way about the people that I know love Christ with all their hearts and I know love me as well. But this is where the lesson that I emphasize to my children that they can choose to feel a certain way goes down the drain. Two events occurred where I am so disappointed in how I chose to feel.
I asked two of my sisters in Christ to apply their artistic expertise to my children’s rooms. They paint wonderful murals and my kids deserve to have special rooms considering the past several years have been difficult for them. So these two women were going to come over last Friday to check out the rooms and start envisioning what how they wanted to design them. But my house was a wreck…and I was embarrassed. Actually, that was an understatement, I was so stressed out it was ridiculous! I finally just cancelled the meeting. Now, these women are two of the most caring individuals I have ever known. But I was so worried about what they would think of me because my house was in disaster mode. It was one of those weeks where I worked 60+ hours, an off week for the cleaning lady, and too busy to enforce the clean up rules with my kids. Dinner was on the fly due to soccer practice inbetween late night meetings for my job. And the fact that I am not a super-mom (as in a superhero). But considering I always think I should be “more” in every respect of my life, I am in a constant state of “not enough”. More of a mom, more of a maid, more of worker, more of a boss…you get the idea. Anyway, it was stupid for me to choose embarrassment instead of seeing the humor in having a room with literally not an inch of floor showing due to dirty clothes, unrolled sleeping bags (an impromptu fort built by my son) and a ton of garbage bags filled with clothes and toys that needed to be sorted for a garage sale that will probably never happen. Seriously, how many people can claim that not one square inch of a room is not being utilized in some form or another?? If I was Maxine, I wouldn’t care.
The second incident that happened was a comment made with purely good and caring intent. This woman (a different one than the artists) doesn’t have a hurtful bone in her body. But my feelings were so hurt by a something that she said that I can still tear up thinking about it. Now how silly is that?? It was our first day in our new digs for our church plant. We were finally moving from a living room to a school building. We are using an auditorium that has those seats with a desktop that can swing down next to the seat or put up to write on. So here we are setting up for the first time and we are checking out the seating. There is a couple of pairs of seats that do not have the arms with the desktops inbetween them. So I chose to sit in one such pair of seats. Much roomier without those arms. One of my fellow core group members states “oh, I’m so glad! There is a seat that you can be comfortable in! I was so worried for you when Jeff first said we were moving to a school”. I know she meant well. I certainly, intellectually, know that she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. I also know that I chose to let those words hurt my feelings.
For any reader who isn’t aware, I am a woman “of size”—the p.c. term for fat. When I was 30, I was thin, muscular, and damn good looking. For a variety of excuses, that changed in the last ten years but I still see myself as I was at 30. So when someone makes a comment such as this sweet woman who meant no offense, I am dumbfounded. Hard to remember that others don’t see me as I see me. I know she wasn’t putting me down. But I chose to let it bother me way too much. Isn’t that silly?
So why can’t I be like Maxine…….?