Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Rage (violent, uncontrolled hatred and anger) (02/05/15)
TITLE: My Smoky Mirror
By Catherine Craig
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Sure enough – looking over at my husband, who, with an eyebrow arched, had his mouth open. I cut him off. “I know…” I admitted – again. “I’m sorry. I’m trying….”
“Sometimes it was easier when he wasn’t a Christian,” I complained to myself, feeling a curious mixture of both resentment and appreciation. “Crap” seemed a much milder version of “sh—“, the word I’d replaced it with from my pre-Christian years! Jeff’s first vice to go since choosing to follow Christ ten years before had been his cursing, and he considered “crap” nothing less than a swear word.
I don’t consider myself an angry person, but every so often circumstances gift me with information to the contrary of how I see myself. It’s then I see both God’s kindness – and his sense of humor in his dealings with me.
For instance, eight months ago we moved from one small isolated Alaskan coastal fishing village to another. One of my first efforts was to try to develop new friendships. One day in church a woman approached me with an invitation to lunch saying, “You’ve been on my mind for days now…”
I see friendship as a dance so I moved forward to take that second step. Delighted, though cautious, I accepted.
We chatted over a pleasant meal she’d cooked up, becoming acquainted. Unfortunately, our Thanksgiving holidays’ travels prevented my timely returning of her invitation.
Ironically, after the first Sunday we both made it back to attend the same church service, I left fuming. She had ignored me, looking through me as though I wasn’t there!
Once through seething, I willed myself to be kind, to give her the benefit of the doubt. Thinking I’d offended her and I accepted the blame. I invited her and her husband to dinner, choosing not to take offense.
However, she turned my invitation down. Attributing the declined invitation to their son’s sports schedule, she made noises about rescheduling. This would have been fine, except that she ignored me twice more, each incident happening during the next two consecutive Sunday’s!
I was furious! I resigned myself to politely returning the invitation, but in my heart I knew that once that was accomplished, I was done with that friendship dance!
When in church, she continued to ignore me and I was confounded. Throwing me yet another curve, she left a homemade Christmas holiday craft on the front seat of our car with a note attached, signed, “Love…”
Stymied, I decided to wait until after the holidays were completely over to deal with the situation. Admitting to myself that understanding her was beyond me. I resolved to pray.
Deciding with my will to extend grace didn’t stop my resenting her. In church, I’d fight with myself, trying not to glare at the back of her head.
The holidays passed, bringing the beginning of the New Year, and I invited her to a personal luncheon. I continued fighting my base nature, and planned to serve her a sumptuous lunch on my best china.
Resolved to “overcome evil” (so I perceived) with “good” as the Bible teaches, I sent her a handwritten invitation – which she put off answering and then turned me down – again – attributing it to illness.
I was furious, and almost gave up. But, this morning’s meditation time studying the Bible refocused my attention on a detail I’d almost forgotten.
Part of me – the reactive part – had forgotten the sovereignty of God. He hadn’t blinked, and lost control of my circumstances, like I’d thought.
With fresh eyes, seeing him in the midst of these odd events brought me much needed peace. I ran the tension I felt with this lady through the filter of my rediscovered perspective and recognized the Lord’s hand in it.
Just before writing this article, I checked my email. There was a five-paragraph note from this dear lady profusely apologizing. She was still struggling with her husband’s complicated job schedule and her own health issues, and turned me down – again.
However, this time, it was she who took several steps forward in our stalled friendship dance. She asked if a date for dinner would work in April…offering to bring a salad for a luncheon…
…And she thanked me for my patience.
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