One thing I’ve had to really work on is my response and reaction to people who go out of their way to offend me, purposefully try to impede progress, who outright disrespects me, and those who virtually have zero manners and upset me because of their ignorance.
How do you handle things like that? I know in my earlier years I always had a quick comeback and snarky comment ready for those exact moments to use them. Other times I laid awake devising up a quip to throw back at just the precise moment to throw the proverbial pie in the face. Most often, I’ve had the chance to just be silent and let the silence speak for itself… ignoring someone who wants to do verbal battle gets under their skin just as bad as a severe tongue lashing throw-down.
I’ve had to learn to keep my mouth shut in many situations because my snarky comments and unabashed head-on tongue lashing only added fuel to the fire, and I became aware that I was stoking a monster set on everlasting fire. I had to realize that me saying something was them accomplishing getting under my skin, and I couldn’t stand that they were able to ruffle my feathers. However, when I remained silent and did not succumb to the tit-for-tat play that they wanted, the fire and bite was never that bad or lasted that long, and eventual boredom set in…
Today I had a strange thing happen to me… First of all, let me back up and give some historical context about the situation. I’ve been working out with a trainer for a little over 1 year… from September 2015 to present. I’ve paid this person weekly for performing this service, and had been having buyer’s remorse, but feeling empathetic, I just stuck with the program. Off and on, this trainer would not show up or text to let me know they wouldn’t be able to make it. Very rarely would I have to do a rain-check or inform them I would not be there to train… mind you, I gave ample time to inform this person (2-5 hours versus the 2-5 min heads up that I would get whenever they couldn’t make it).
“It is what it is!” That was my mentality… I’ll just take whatever you got because doing it on my own wasn’t cutting it. So I was happy just to have someone train me… Anyways, as the months and weeks wore on, I learned that he had skin cancer and would have to be out due to being sick or whatever… I accommodated. He wouldn’t show up some days, and I’d realize that 5 min into our scheduled time when I didn’t get a text message… no problem, “it is what it is!” So I just took it upon myself to work out on my own. I have never been a no-call-no-show. I have however, been unable to make our standing appointments, but as I mentioned earlier, I have always informed him ahead of time. Today, was another unfortunate time where I have come down with an ailment… an allergic reaction to something that makes my hands and feet swell up with a rash… so I told this trainer… the one who couldn’t make it on Friday, but texted me ahead of time to make sure I could come, then to turn around and text me 10 min before our scheduled time to say they couldn’t make it. The same trainer who didn’t text me or show up for 2 days, without an explanation… I digress… so today I let them know I wasn’t going to be able to make it. This person says, “this stuff pisses me off more than you know. There is a term in Pittsburgh we say about stuff like this, “jag off” and it fits.” So of course, being the young person that I am, I look up the term, “jag off” and it means that you are an annoyingly selfish a**hole. So my first emotion that hit was anger… ‘cause I just felt like he was trying to offend me. Second, I re-read it because then I thought, well maybe he didn’t really mean anything by it… but the meaning of the term is clear about what that person means when they use it. Third, I wanted to delicately explode on them with articulate words to basically blow their ignorance out of the water.
However, I have come to the conclusion where silence is golden here… however, my actions will be priceless. Here will be my opportunity to share the power of God… and I have to ensure that what I do next is impactful, in a gospel sense. Do I turn the other cheek? Do I feign ignorance? Do I respond tacitly with a cool response that will ensure they never speak out of turn again? Do I terminate the relationship because they have now disrespected me, and for that I have no tolerance? Was it all a misunderstanding? Should I even get clarification?? All of these things are running through my mind as I read and re-read the text message. Again, I need to be powerful with my actions… in considering, what would Jesus do in this situation? As I’m thinking about WWJD, I wonder how that could even apply because Jesus would know that person’s heart… he would know what their motive was… he would know more than I can know… and so it would be unfair to try and figure out what Jesus would do when Jesus would already know the past, present, and future of this person… but I digress…
The Christian spirit in me wants me to forgive and forget. Brush it off as just something old people say, and move on. The parent in me wants me to say something, get clarification before I take something the wrong way and just gain understanding before making an assumption. The person I’ve become through my life experiences wants to immediately respond with such an articulated, grandiose, black woman educated vernacular (aka Angry Black Woman) that I don’t even think he would understand. I went back and forth on this decision all day to say or not say something… I conversed with a few close friends to gather more understanding because I could just be overreacting, so I waited. Silence. The next time I was supposed to meet him, he was there… and I found out that he was talking about doctors, not me… so my lesson is learned… take the Christian way… give the benefit of the doubt and follow up with clarification as need be… and save the scathing, well articulated, emotional tirade for something that is an obvious affront to my person. Sometimes it’s better to be late on the trigger than to give in to your hot emotions prematurely, which could lead to ruination to a part of your oikos without even realizing it.