Friday, June 29, 2012
When the dress up box gets turned upside down for the third time in a solitary afternoon, when children streak loud happiness down the hall even though I'm already struggling on a bad connection with a student, when husband jets out the door before helping buckle my precious cargo into their seat belts---
Then. It's hard.
To be kind. To be patient. To be gentle. To control my humanity bubbling up from the deepest parts of me until it spews forth.
I hold that bushel full of fruit, balancing it successfully on my head for half the day. Then, something small happens, causing me to stumble. A Lego. An unkind word. An oversight.
Patience tips over the side of the basket and smashes to the ground. I grab at the woven canes, trying to make my load steady again, but with the sudden shift in weight, the other fruit sway to the left so that I swiftly lose both gentleness and kindness.
Before I know it, self control hits the floor and rolls under the table, hiding in its darkest recesses. At this point, I usually just give up, drop the remaining fruit in frustration and sit down to cover my face lined with so much failure, I can't even lift my head.
And if it's hard for me to act as a Christian should with these minor annoyances, with people I love more than my own body, it's even more difficult when I'm faced with outright attacks from others I know by name only.
How does a Christian respond to a real attack on her? On her character?
How does she respond to words crafted in anger, spewing malice and unfair accusations, attacking the very essence of her being?
Such slander is less easy to ignore when it's made public, when it challenges one's career, especially in our uber-electronic age when words can go viral in seconds and turn a person's world upside down, when people automatically prefer to believe the bad over the good, when whatever is posted online--true or false--can stay there forever for all the world to read.
In times like this, it is more difficult to turn the other cheek. When I feel threatened by the world, there is within me something that wants to fight back, to call down burning fire from heaven, to use my own words as knives and poison-tipped spears in retaliation.
I feel that deep gut response of anger, flushed-cheeks flash of fiery temper. Then, as always happens, the anger fades and is replaced with sadness, hopelessness, a desire to just throw in the towel. .
And so I walk away, hit the delete button, close my eyes and breathe a prayer. Why, God? Do you really want me to keep doing this when this is what happens?
The past two weeks have been rough on my fruit-bearing. Two angry mothers and a vengeful student from last November have found me on my knees, searching under tables and chairs to reload that fruit basket a dozen or more times a day.
God has still not given me permission to adamantly defend myself, nor has He given me permission to simply leave behind this profession He has called me to. His suggestion was simple: let others fight for me, to tell the truth that I couldn't. So, I asked some to do just that, and oh the blessings, a reminder that the lives I touch for the good are worth more than any brief problems I must endure.
My fruit may be bruised, scarred, and maybe a little smushed, but I'm still willing to pick it up when it falls to the ground and then hold on for dear life.
Image: Harkiss Designs online, where you can support women in Rwanda, a country which has suffered from genocide. This design is called "spirit fruit". Read about Harkiss Designs here.
at 9:57 PM