Monday, July 28, 2014

Lesson Learned

There are two kinds of people in the world...  The kinds of people who inspire me and I want to emulate, and the kinds of people who serve as a terrible warning of what I don't want to become.  Now, I say there are "two kinds of people", but really everyone I know falls into both categories at one point or another.  People are inherently flawed.  And, depending upon the day, I have greater tolerance for irascible behavior than others. That being said, I had an "Ah-Ha" moment today after mentally grumbling about an encounter with above noted irascible person.  As much as I might like to sit on my spiritual high horse and label someone else as being judgmental and intolerant, I am called to love people.  I'm called to love all people, not just the lovable.  

It's easy for me to love children.  Irascible, angry little people are my specialty.  I can talk to them, discovering hidden reasons for the most abhorrent behavior.  Usually, it boils down to fear.  When kids are afraid, they react angrily.  My mom likes to call anger "fear with teeth in it".  When I'm talking to a child, it's easy to uncover the fear so we can walk hand in hand toward a solution.

It's more difficult to love adults who present themselves in an angry fashion.  However, I have found that I even have a knack of diffusing angry adults by listening and understanding.  Most people get ensnared in a fit of anger when really they are scared or are not getting their needs met in some way.  Some angry adults even stoop to berating and threatening when they are afraid.

And, that's where I go haywire.  Angry people with a little bit of power bring out this deep seated characteristic in me to defend.  Underdog was my favorite cartoon character as a kid.  He rose from his humble station as Shoeshine Boy to defend sweet Polly Purebred from the evil deeds of villains like Simon Bar Sinister and Riff Raff.  But, in real life, roles are not so clear cut.  The good guys aren't always so clearly good, and the bad guys are not so solidly bad.  Lines get blurred and my inner bubbling defender is left simply feeling rotten...  Boiling helplessly and rolling words around in my head wondering if I should have stood up and said something.

My Ah-Ha moment came today when I realized that I am called to love.  I need to love the angry, fit-throwing child, and I need to love the blustery, demanding adult.  I don't have to tolerate abuse, but I can love.  There is serious power in loving all people, even if I don't agree with their words, ideas or methods.  If I can wrap my brain around that concept, I can tuck away my Underdog cape and serve others in the role of Shoeshine Boy, accepting what comes and rising to what can be.