It’s funny how quickly you can go from such a good place to a grimy, pride-filled placed dripping with indignation and hurt feelings.
Last night I had a wonderful evening with Canadian friends. Tapas, cocktails, sunset walks on ocean piers. This morning I accidentally stumbled onto the realization that a childhood friend had unfriended me on facebook. Cue world crashing down.
Of all the dumb things to get riled up about, right? But I was. Am. I am so angry that this person unfriended me. Mostly because unfriending is a personal social media faux pas of mine. I basically cannot unfriend anyone. I just can’t do it. It’s too hurtful for the person on the other end. You just don’t DO that. And in this day and age where you can make lists of who sees your content and you can hide people from your newsfeed completely, there’s really no need to cut people off. So to choose to do so anyway is somehow even more of an insult.
But that’s really not the issue, is it? My own personal pet peeves aside, this is a problem of pride. I am offended. I am hurt. I want it all to be about me!
But I am not innocent. I know that I’ve both hurt and offended this person, as well. We’ve never had an argument, I’ve never said anything to or about her personally, but my opinions on matters close to her heart have stung. My grievances with church and southern culture, which I’ve been all too free to voice online, have injured her. Funny how easy it is to wound without ever personally attacking.
So she chose to cut me clean out. And even though I think that’s much too extreme a measure, I don’t have a lot of space to defend myself.
Not surprisingly, God has been gently bring me back to the art of apologizing recently. For reasons I couldn’t understand I’ve been unable to get it off the brain. Genuinely apologizing is one of the hardest things in the world. And I’m crap at it. If I’m extremely close to someone, like the people that live under my own roof, I can occasionally work up the humility and courage to pull it off. But outside of that teeny tiny circle? Well, things are just going to slowly burn until I’ve baby-stepped away from the relationship for long enough that a slow bridge of bitterness is built that separates us forever. Like, actual forever.
In my North American, Southern, passive-aggressive cultural upbringing, directness is not a virtue. It’s awkward and personal and not socially acceptable. Sometimes I think I would love to acclimate into a more blunt culture. Let’s air this crap out already. And be done with it.
And yet, there have been a small handful of people in my life who have crossed that prideful, socially awkward barrier and offered me a genuine, heartfelt apology. And every time it has shocked, humbled, and healed me. Dang near instantly. It’s a radical gift to apologize. And I’m ashamed that I’ve been incapable of it.
So I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God has been slowly guiding my mind back to confronting my own pride and weakness and inability to apologize – the very week that a situation would provide me the opportunity. There’s no such thing as a spiritual coincidence.
I still have so much work to do in my own heart.