Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ruined

I'm a little bummed about harsh comments here and at a co-worker's blog. Usually, I would not let other people's comments bother me, except that this time, I caused them, and possibly drove a wedge between this coworker and myself. That ain't right.

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Flipping through archived pics, I found this one that I took in late October.

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It was a most pleasant afternoon. The autumn sun shone bright, providing a warm complement to the day's cool breeze. Reports of deer drove me deeper into the conference center's walking path with my camera. As I crunched over the fallen leaves, I knew it would have been a rejuvenating walk whether or not I found any subjects to photograph. I did. It was almost surreal to be in that place of pure contentment. I took my time and soaked it all in.

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Then this cigarette snapped me back to reality. All of the sudden, somebody's carelessness marred what would have been a perfect experience! This piece of litter did not belong in that place, and now my nature walk was ruined. That trash wasn't part of the man made rustic beauty in the skillful brickwork, and it certainly wasn't an element of nature that I came to experience. Deep down, I resented the culprit who vandalized this sacred place and every other litterbug as well.

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Where do I go from here? For all I know, that "litterbug" could have been a preoccupied employee who was treated unfairly. Maybe a parent who is at their wits end from a rebellious child or concerned over a sick relative. Perhaps it was somebody who doesn't care about anybody else, but I couldn't know that, could I? So I snapped a photo and walked away.

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You know, sometimes I treat people the way I want to be treated, and sometimes I ignore kindness and demand that a thing be fixed or paid for. Sure, there's a time to stand up for what is right, but sometimes I just need to lighten up. After all, I will be judged by the same measure that I use to judge others... and I always prefer being treated with grace and mercy. Plus, I need to stay aware that my actions... good, bad or indifferent, are going to be a reflection of the church. (Ooh, that's scary.)

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That October nature walk wasn't ruined; it was a lesson that I needed to hang on to.

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Today I find that I want kindness even though I was slow to dispense it. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe it does. Or maybe it just makes me human.

11 comments:

nAncY said...

you just wrote about things that we all think every day.

well, hopefully you and your coworker can have a talk and prayer and maybe it will work out for the better.


i like the photo you used in reference.

donsands said...

"Sure, there's a time to stand up for what is right, but sometimes I just need to lighten up."

My wife rebuked me the other day. She said I wasn't compassionate enough with my Mom. She went on to explain how it's probably that I see her so much, and that i trying to shock her out of her dementia.

It hurst.

But I'm glad she did so; it was right. And so now I can be more kind to Mom. Not that i don't loveher, and would die for her, but it seems sometimes we can be more harsh to those closest to us. Wives, Mom's, and co-workers.

And sometimes we need to speak the truth in love to those closest to us, spouses, parents, and partners at work.

Every Square Inch said...

Craver - we've all been there.. we've said something we've regretted or failed to do something we ought to.
I know I find myself there on a regular basis

May God grant you grace and remind you of the mercy he's shown you....and may you extend that same mercy to others.

mommanator said...

jeez honey don't be so hard on yourself! We are not perfect-God is still working on us!
I actually enjoyed the spirited writing- it showed folk are actually reading and thinking. And we Christians can have spirited communication afterall we are alive in CHRIST!
Looks to me like you have asked for forgiveness-HE forgives!

just journaling said...

Great advice, donsands!!

I also like what nAncY wrote -

"Hopefully you and your coworker can have a talk and prayer and maybe work it out for the better."

We all mess up, Craver. Don't beat yourself up.

But if you're really upset over this, maybe you should speak to your pastor or even your Mrs.?

Seems you have much support here, Craver!

God bless you!

Craver Vii said...

You guys are great. Thanks for the support. I'm delighted that this is being done without knocking someone else down.

Praise God that things have been smoothed over between my coworker and myself, even if those details are not in the blogosphere.

I'm not beating myself up. Really. I just decided that I could not do any good if I took a defensive position or if I tried to justify my lack of discretion. The name of Christ is often dragged through the mud on account of God's ambassadors. I don't want to contribute to that mess (though sometimes I do).

I also felt that if I resumed my typical themes right away, it might be misconstrued as ignoring the problem, in hopes that it would disappear. That is not an acceptable resolution.

My hope is for total reconciliation. "As far as it is up to you, live at peace with one another."

L.L. Barkat said...

I think it's good that you want kindness... because in the wanting comes the remembrance of how good it feels and the inspiration to extend it a little more next time around.

I like this post. Maybe because I understand ruin too.

(On another note, I've got a moon picture I'll post sometime. I thought of you when I took it. All your sky pictures I guess. And my envy that you take such great moon shots. :)

lime said...

the parable of the cigarette butt.....odd the things that can spark thoughts that help us ponder truth.

Louise said...

Just human, not a hypocrite. And I'm glad it didn't RUIN the walk. When we find things like that, we can clean it up and feel a little bit better for doing so, or we can be angry at the idiots of the world who do those things. The idiots will never go away, so we must learn to deal with it in a way that doesn't destroy us.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

hello neighbor, hello friend. this post reminds me of the Sunday you came up excitedly and said someone had just accused you of being tactful! How delighted you were. And yet, the reason you knew the delight of that moment was because you knew the pain of previous moments when you weren't tactful even though you didn't intent to be harsh.

It also reminds me of Romans 8:29. (People are so quick to quote 8:28, and to do so out of context, for the "for" at the beginning of 8:29 links the two indivisibly.) God uses the painful things of life, as well as the pleasant, to mold us into the image of Christ. So, this too is useful and one day I will rejoice when you come up to me with your big smile that reaches all the way into your eyes and say that someone just accused you of being gentle and gracious.

Shammickite said...

you could have picked the cigarette butt up and put it in the nearest garbage can.
Then it wouldn't bother anyone else.