I have spent my life trying to be nice, forgive people, and show patience even when the situation calls for the opposite reaction. When someone messes up I’ve always tried to make them feel better, no matter how inane the act. In recent days…scratch that. In recent years a lot has happened to break my spirit and turn me into a bitter man who wants nothing more than to strike down those that foil my innocent plans. Two layoffs, one unsold house, a new house with insufferable issues that are never cleared up, deaths in the family, and a few other things I’m not ready to discuss, have been tough obstacles in my path of turning the other cheek, and yesterday I near lost it.

I find that I am taken advantage of more often than not. Neighbors of mine were bumped ahead of us in line for home fixes even though we were first in line. Know why? Because they complained and yelled and screamed. I’m the person that helped our builders when they needed it, but they forgot as soon as I needed them to do something. It’s as though the mouse in Aesop’s fable strolled right past the bound lion.

Yesterday, I felt I was being taken advantage of again. Words started to bubble up in me that I haven’t said to another person maliciously in many, many years. I suppressed them for a moment or two until they all materialized in my mind for one epic phone call. But I got voice mail. Ripping someone a new one via recorded message is like punching someone’s picture—not good enough. So, I summoned my disappointed voice and sternly talked through my issue with voice mail. Figured I’d give the person a little warning before they call back so they at least know what they’re walking into.

I was ready to blow up and I was looking forward to it. Then I made one more call to someone who had nothing to do with my mood, but if they weren’t going to help me fix my problem, then I was ready to go a few rounds. Blood boiling and temper ready to explode, the woman on the other end of the line gave me exactly what I needed without having to raise my voice. Suddenly that bitterness and anger melted away. I felt so much better than had I needed to yell. So all was forgiven. Just like that. Was I rewarded for my patience, even if it was running out? I don’t know, but later I was rewarded with some good news. I won’t get into it yet because the last thing I want to do is jinx it again—maybe a later post.

For now, grant forgiveness to those minor inane acts because you’ll get what you need anyway, and you might even hold onto a comrade or two. If not, you can always guilt them into doing something because of how understanding you were when they were in the wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nick, more a conversation than comment... I've been on both sides, the yeller and the absorber. Frankly I can't pick a better side. 20 years a Realtor & mostly I've gotten better results by being nice but sometimes I've had to raise hell to get my clients cared for 'fairly'. What I have noticed over time is that some people go w/the flow better... bad things happen and they shrug & move on. It isn't that they get better results so much as they don't get their guts all burned up in the meanwhile. So many of the 'yellers' in my life are miserable no matter what the outcome. I can only hope you're right & on my end I try to be NICER to those who are nice. Best I can do is all I can do. I try to be satisfied by myself, with myself & hope my pebble in the pond leaves some happy ripples.
    Thanks for the boost on Twitter the other day. Next visit to Bmore, I'll look you up. *maybe* I'll be there promoting my Baltimore novel, The Prince of Highlandtown.
    Keep writing and provoking.