May 25, 2010
As a child, I didn't understand the concept of an "enemy." I mean, there couldn't possibly be someone with whom I would not able to get along. As I grew up, I continued to not abide the idea that someone might dislike me or, even hate me, or that I could do the same. I burned no bridges and buried all the hatchets thrust into my hands.
But as my interaction with a diverse set of individuals increases (high school, college, study abroad, the workplace), I realized that it's not always possible to be "BFFs," as they say, with the whole world. Even the Dalai Lama has a tough time (although to be fair, China has it coming).
And now, I realize that there are people we encounter who challenge our character, intentionally and unintentionally. I say "challenge" with the hope to maintain my composure and general goodwill in dealing with them.
Lately, however, I have not been very successful in that challenge.
I have encountered a few of "those people," some more frequently than others these past few months. I just ran into an old roommate. And I didn't linger to hear her life update. Upon seeing her, I merely smiled and said hello, asking quickly how she is - all while walking steadily out the door. I had no desire to hear her history.
And yet as I walked down the street, I became riddled with guilt. The swiftness of my departure did not represent the best part of my character. Perhaps I should have stood there with a fake smile to hear about all her "news."
Then I remembered all the bad experiences I had with her as my roommate. And seeing her reminded me of a difficult time in my life. She represented a weak side of myself and I couldn't handle it. But I should have risen above this challenge. Hence the fact that my lack of grace has spilled over into a reflective blog post.
No one makes you feel inferior without your consent. You said it, Eleanor.
But the preaching is so different from the practicing. As I well know.
Friends, how do you fare with people who test your character?
Image found here.