Facebook Feeds My Ulcers

Have you ever wronged anyone?  I mean reaaaaallly wronged them.  Not just a little bit, but a LOT.  I have.  Thanks to Facebook, I can periodically search for said people.  Most of the time, thankfully, I can never find them.  Sometimes, like yesterday, I can.

When Jon and I were first married we lived in an apartment complex in Florida.  One day at the pool, I struck up a conversation with a lovely gal who was there with her two year old daughter.  Her son might have been there too, I don’t remember.  Our husbands had both been in the Navy, liked to fish, etc.  We began to hang out, have dinner, watch football.  It was fun.  Yeah, until Jon and I ruined it.

It was like a sick coordinated attack.  They were smart people, it didn’t take long for them to figure out that Jon had a major drinking problem.  They felt sorry for me and did their best to include us in their lives, despite Jon’s erratic behavior.  One evening she and I hung out while the guys went fishing.  I decided to head home with Jacob when it got dark.  On the walk back, I noticed that Jon’s truck was home.  Hmmm, I must have just missed them, I thought.  I headed upstairs, assuming her husband was already home, and maybe Jon would be sitting in the living room ready to share his fishing tales.  Um, no.  What I walked into was quite opposite.  Let’s just leave it at that.

Now, understand, that I had seen Jon go from drinking and quite awake to passed out in less than five minutes.  The bathroom was still steamy and wet.  I chalked the whole thing up to him being so drunk when he got home he had showered and promptly passed out on the bed.  Jacob and I went through our normal bedtime routine and put an end to that night.  During the night, our goofy loud neighbors had someone pounding on the door.  They were partiers and made a lot of noise.  I woke up and thought maybe this time I should call the police.  Soon enough it stopped and I drifted back to sleep.

The next morning, Jon woke up and had NO memory of the night before.  He did not remember coming home.  Nothing.  Now, either the phone rang early, or my friend met me outside, I don’t remember, but she had PLENTY to fill me in on.  Jon had left her husband and drove off. Left him.  By a river.  In Florida.  With wild beasts.  Her husband had to hitch hike home.  It had been them pounding on the door the night before.  The sheer embarrassment and disbelief on my face, might have been the only thing keeping her from believing I had a part in it.  I’ll never know.  Needless to say, her husband removed himself from any further participation with Jon.  With anything.  I didn’t blame him.  Neither did Jon.  It was awful.

She and I managed to still be friends, but it was different after that.  How could it not be?  We both started working at the same place.  Some of the women there treated her really crappy.  She tried so hard to be perky, friendly, and vivacious, only to be met with sarcasm and scorn.  I watched as she suffered silently at home as well.  She wanted everything to be perfect, and to show that she was good enough.  It was a tough veneer to crack.  At one point, I got after her about it.  I told her she needed to stand up for herself and not be such a Pollyanna.  Oh, she so needed to hear that from me.  Right.  I couldn’t even keep my own life straight.  How dare I be so self righteous?

After noticing that her husband was saying jerky things to her and how it tore her down to a tiny nub, I decided to do her one of my special favors.  I was going to SHOW her how this pursuit of perfection would affect her daughter.  I wanted to hit her hard so that she would wake up before it was “too late”.  I sat down and I wrote her an email from the futuristic view point of her daughter .  It was absolutely wretched.  I sent it to their joint email account.  Her husband read it first.  (Which was part of my plan.  He needed to wake up too.)  He fired back with an explosive email, then he let her read it.  She was extremely hurt.  Instead of waking her up to the peace of not having to be so perfect, I basically called her the worst mother in the world.  Shame. On. Me.

We never really spoke again.  She has probably forgotten about me.  At least, I hope she has.  We were jerks.  Incapable of doing anything but injecting drama into everything we did.  What the heck?  Did I go to the soap opera school of friendships?  I would like to say I should have known better, but I didn’t.  I do now, but that doesn’t keep from occasionally getting into hot water with my writing.

I have dreamed about her.  In the dreams I apologize profusely, then I find out she has lived down the street from us for years.  Sometimes, I think of her in passing and wonder what she’s been up to.  Yesterday, one of the names of her kids popped into my head.  I looked him up and there he was.  From there, I found her and saw her face after ten years.  Should I tell her I’m sorry?  Should I leave it alone?  As usual, I want to fix this.  I’m not a very good fixer.



If You Think It’s Righteous Anger…You’re Probably Wrong.

If you read some of my posts from a few weeks ago, you’ll notice that I completely fell apart for a minute.  I was so soured to blogging, tweeting and anything to do with social media, I wanted to puke.  I have come around a little bit.  Now that I have a clear vision for what I want to use the blog for, I feel a little more free.  This blog is mine.  It’s all me.  Every so often, if I feel I am starting to slip into glossy blogness, I have to rein it in.  Much past my faith, my family, and my crafts, I begin to venture into the gloss.  No thanks.

I follow several glossy blogs, and they don’t need me mucking up the waters.  At the end of the day, I gotta be me.

So now I will share the story of what happened so that my ten readers can judge me harshly.  Go ahead.  I deserve it.  I handled it in a really bad, bad way.

Back when I was on Twitter under my old moniker WApharmgirl I was a bit of a lurker, a creep as it were. (Not to EVERYONE!  CALM DOWN)  There was a person I was following that was having a baby, and I didn’t want to be all in her face everyday with “How are you feeling?”  “How are you doing”  “Hey, I wish I was there so I could help you more.”  It was perfectly easy to just pop over and read her tweets, see that everything was a-okay, and carry on with my day.  If something bad was happening, I could tweet a short comment and then, again, carry on.   If that seems weird to you, then it probably is. It was all innocent, I swear!  As I have mentioned before, I am an excited oaf when it comes to babies, pregnancies, and pregnancy related stuff.  The day I am no longer excited about any of it is the day I know for sure that I am done having kids.

Well one evening, I was on Twitter catching up on all my tweets.  In my little feed thingy was a tweet that made me pause.  It was from this person, directed @ another person. The conversation appeared to be about another dear friend of mine.  Thinking I was clearly mistaken, I read her tweets and my gut began to burn.  That drove me to look at what else was being said about the “situation”.  I read everything I could from several different angles and I. Was. So. Mad.  No, I was angry.  Really angry.  Like How-Dare-She! Fired up.  And it kept going and going and going.

What made me so upset was  knowing how hurt my good friend would be if she had heard any of this stuff.  Here is where I messed up royally.  I should have dropped right into that conversation and said what a load of garbage it was.  What I did was this:  I texted my friend in a rage and told her everything that was going on.  Yep, I ended up being the one who hurt her with that information.  I even said something to the effect that I probably should not be talking about it because I was going to say something stupid in my anger.  Captain Obvious flies again!   In that heated moment, I rationalized telling her everything because she NEEDED to know that this other person was NOT a good friend.  I felt righteous in my anger.  I felt justified in gossiping.  I was not.

I SHOULD have handled it so much better.  It’s bothered me ever since.  Mostly because a close friend is hurting from a rift in a friendship.  A rift that I tore open with my bare hands.  Some days I feel that I should have just minded my own business. (The truth has a funny way of coming to light without my help.)  Other days, I feel like it needed to happen, that she deserved to know.  In the end, I just looked like a gossiping boob.   I just hope that this person learned from it and will honor her friendships a little better in the future.

I learned that people are not perfect.  Again.  How many times do I have to learn this lesson?  I think what added to my own hurt was that I admired this person.  I really did not expect anything like that. I felt just as betrayed and stupid.  It knocked down my faith in humanity a couple of notches.

I have learned that when another situation like this arises, I need to take a time out and weigh the situation more carefully before I respond.  I do not like the person I was that day.

Motivating People-The Right Way

“Fools have no interest in understanding, they only want to air their own opinions” Proverbs 18:2 NLT

Yikes.   This post gets right under my fingernails and lifts without a care.  Ouch.  Double ouch.

I am kind of jumping off from a sermon I heard in church this past Sunday.  I’m all about the application, so I am reeeeeaaaallly trying to apply this to my life and become a better human being.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy.  It’s hard.  I am going against a grain that was set in the wood many moons ago.  Fighting nature, folks.

I want to motivate people God’s way. The way I want things and the way I do things are not married together.  Heck, they aren’t even third cousins.  Through the years I have learned several ways to get loved ones and friends to see the light.

Bullying, manipulating, passive aggressive behavior modification through social media, crying, and tattling.  Those are just a few.  I am sure if I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with hundreds.  The worst way I have ever tried to motivate someone is to shame them into changing.  Ever tried that?

Example:  Susie So and So is not living right.  If there were a list of things to do wrong in ones twenties, she is doing them all.  (We can use our imaginations, or let us just reflect on our own twenties.) Me, having lived through a Susie type mess, comes in with all kinds of advice, feelings and expectations.  Susie takes my advice, feelings and expectations and promptly throws them out the window.  I get offended and write Susie off as a hopeless case.  But, I am not so cruel that I would not open my arms wide to let her back in my life for an “I told you so.”  In the meantime, I have a good ole time discussing my “concerns” about Susie with family, friends, co-workers, the garbage man, the mail man, the lady at the check out counter, the telemarketer, and door to door salesmen. (Kidding, but it could have easily grown into that.)

“What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening the the facts!” Proverbs 18:13 NLT

In my case, Susie’s naysayers were coming to me.  A lot.  I would hear out the complaints and then come up with a list of things we should do to show her that we loved her, but were not going to enable her.  Sounds great on the surface.  But I would often find myself examining my motivation.  Was the goal actually to lift up this person and get her on a path to self-sufficiency?  Or was there a drill instructor mentality that said we should tear this person down and build them back up in our own image?  I kept getting a nudge that it was the latter.   That left me scratching my head and wondering how do you challenge someone?  When someone is down in the dumps, how do you teach them to get themselves out without doing all the work for them?  What if the person acts like they want everyone to do it for them?

“Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight.” Proverbs 18:17

Okay, so that’s a yield sign.  Do I know the whole story?  When a person is faltering, should my immediate assumption be that they are “up to no good”?  And, if they are up to no good, does that mean that I should close the door on them until they straighten out?  Or should I carefully, and lovingly encourage them without allowing them to walk all over me?  Well, I still think both options are  something to think about prayerfully, and cautiously.  But, and it’s a big one, Jesus chose to meet me just where I am.  Warts and all.  He met me with open arms.  He said to love one another.  So how can I not do the same for a loved one who is hurting?  I need to close my mouth and open my arms.

“But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love.  He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:4

“But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help-how can God’s love be in that person?”  1 John 3:17

“Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.  It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord,” 1 John 3:18-19

From that, I get that we are to show our love in our actions toward others.  What the person does with that help is their business.  If they want to smile and rub their hands about how they can manipulate people, so be it.  I must also be careful after helping to not picture them rubbing their hands and laughing an evil laugh.  I can’t see straight into their heart.  Only God can.