“but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” 1 Corinthians 1:27
Have you ever had the experience where people don’t respond in the way you expect that they will? A time when they actually respond better than you would have given them credit for? What did it teach you, about yourself and about them?
I experienced this first hand recently. And it reminded me that I often judge myself and others around me according to some arbitrary standard inside of me.
My son had been after me for years, to read a series of science fiction books he owned. He had loved the series and was certain I would as well. I had dismissed his suggestion, because the books seemed rather young. He had recently been doing a major cleaning of his room, getting rid of many of his belongings, but he had kept these books because he treasured them and was proud of owning the entire series.
A short time back, I was desperate for something to read. He again suggested the series he had loved. This time I listened and read them. There were 13 books in all. They told a wonderful story of perseverance and the search for truth, while holding up the virtues of friendship, trust and faith. The fact that there were dragons in the story, well that was an added bonus!
The books were quite addictive and I found as I neared the end of the series I could no longer wait till I went to bed at night to read, I needed to know what was happening in the story and I needed to know now! I began to take each book out with me so it would be ever present, in case I had a chance to read.
One day I was out with my son at a doctor’s appt and I brought book # 12 with me. It wasn’t until bedtime that I realized I had left the book at the doctors.
I checked the car and checked the house but the book was gone. I immediately told my son and his response was just a quiet acknowledgement.
The next day I called the doctor’s office, twice. Then I drove there. I searched where I waited and asked multiple people, but it was gone. Losing things is unusual for me. Losing something that held value to my son made me feel terrible.
That afternoon I told him of my unsuccessful search. He again met my story with a quiet acknowledgement.
And I learned something. I learned that my behavior in the same situation would not have measured up to my son’s response. Aren’t teens expected to react with drama and intensity? When I mentioned to him, how impressed I was with how he was taking this loss, he assured me, “Mom, you didn’t do it on purpose, it was an accident. It’s just a book.”
True. But I knew in my heart that when people do little things that threaten what I value – even if it is an accident, that my first, second and third responses often include anger, frustration and an overwhelming need to vent.
But deep down, I agree with my son. I don’t actually value things higher than people, so why doesn’t my behavior better reflect that?
I told him he had taught me something. Now I need to live like it was so.
(post script…..the book never was found but I have replaced it!)