I have a confession to make that will shock some of you who have an image of me as a loving, kind person who cares about everyone and wouldn’t hurt a bug.
Last week, two sweet little old ladies, dressed impeccably, rang my doorbell in the middle of the afternoon, holding their Bibles and wearing expressions of loving, gracious smiles on their cherubic faces.
I could see them through the window pane of my front door, and without even bothering to open the front door, I erupted into an explosion of my last nerve, with three dogs barking and jumping on the door, a houseful of kids and grandkids all around me and shouted at them through the glass. “Oh no, absolutely not! We’re not doing this now, go on, get out of here, SHOO, SHOO, Just go!” With arm motions to match, I literally shooed the sweet little old ladies off my front porch and down my sidewalk, while my kids and grandkids stared at me, mouths gaping in shock.
I plopped myself back down on the chair in front of my laptop, still frustrated at what had been the billionth interruption of the day, not even noticing the shocked faces in front of me.
Finally my granddaughter, age fifteen, spoke up. “Grandma, you just SHOOED away those little old ladies. You probably traumatized them forever!”
Still entrenched in my ogre mood and hunched over my keyboard, I didn’t look up. “Good, then they will learn to stay off my front porch next time.”
This time my daughter, Tania, who makes it a point to always be kind to strangers, bad guys and trolls alike, admonished me. “Mom!!! Shame on you! How are they supposed to know you are trying to write and don’t want to be interrupted? It isn’t their fault you are a crabby writer! Don’t take it out on them! You could have calmly gone to the door and said, ‘no thank you and closed the door like a civilized person would have.”
I tried to defend my horrible behavior for awhile longer, with futile statements such as “Anyone who goes door to door should expect to be shooed away, it comes with the job.” and “This is what God created Facebook and E-mail for, so that door to door people can put away their shoes and do their business on line like the rest of us.”
But my family was having none of it. They called me out on my crap, as they should have, and held me accountable for not living what I teach.
The truth is, I was rude, crude and socially unacceptable and I knew it. (And I was a terrible example for my grandchildren too.)
The thing is, this had NOTHING TO DO WITH MY FEELINGS ABOUT JEHOVAH WITNESSES. I have friends who are Jehovah Witnesses, ( at least I did until they read this. ) I am open to people worshiping in love how they see fit. This is not a judgement on the religion. It could have been a sweet little Girl Scout or the UPS man and they probably would have been shooed as well. It wouldn’t have mattered who interrupted my life at that exact precarious moment.
It had everything to do with my depleted state of mind, frazzled nerves, low blood sugar, feeling like the-clock-was-ticking-and-I-wasn’t-getting-anything-done, and the always dangerous- it was noon and I was still in my pajamas, hadn’t had anything but coffee all day, the house was getting increasingly messy instead of cleaner (On Home Blessing Monday, no less) and there was noise when there should have been sanctuary.
I have to own and take responsibility for the fact that when I DON’T TAKE CARE Of ME, I am not only not taking care of others, but I AM POTENTIALLY CAUSING THEM HARM.
Not to mention being a terrible example to others.
This is my public apology for shooing ANY human being. What their religious beliefs were doesn’t matter. They were people, and they had the right to be treated with compassion and dignity. I was wrong, and it is dangerous for me to not take excellent care of myself, because when that happens, I don’t take excellent care of my family, friends, or the world. I owe it to those around me not to let myself get into situations that make me crabby, ogre-ish and rude.
I share this in hopes that it serves as a reminder for us all that taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish. It is selfish not to.
The world needs our love, not our frazzled exasperation.
Can you relate? If so, PLEASE share in the comments. Don’t leave me hanging here alone in my rudeness!