As Tommy as I put away our music to leave the funeral home, a former church member hugged him with, "The music was beautiful."
As I walked by her I hugged her, "How are you? Good to see you." She stiffened like a statue, silent.
"Oh, my, aren't you going to hug me too?" I was baffled at her bristling.
"Well, I don't know how you feel about me," she said.
Puzzled, I said, "I feel no differently than I ever have. Have I given you any reason to think I wouldn't care for you?"
"Well. . .yes," she stammered, "but you probably don't even remember it."
She was right. I didn't have memory of any encounter with her beyond normal greetings. So I asked, in order to apologize. She told me it was because years ago her husband got my email address and began sending me forwards. Cute, devotional, funny, whatever. I simply wrote back asking him not to because I use my email primarily for communicating with our very scattered family and for my piano business.
That was IT. She was offended and held it for years. My efforts to explain had no effect. "I tell friends that all the time because well-meaning folks could fill your box daily. Everyone understands."
"Well, he didn't send that many. And it did hurt! He chose only two people to send things to. And you were one."
So I apologized, telling her I certainly didn't mean to offend.
Tommy pouted at her, jesting, "I don't even wanna know what just happened here, 'cause you might get mad it me too!" He chuckled. She didn't.
As I drove home, I was aghast at her pettiness. Imagine! Nursing that bitterness for so long! I'd told her she needed to let it go. Wow! I'd hate to view the world through those critical eyes, ready to pounce all the time.
About halfway home, I shot up a quick prayer for her. For him. Then for me! Let it go, Kathy.
But it ate at me. Ridiculous! I laughed out loud. How can anyone be hurt over asking not to send junk mail to me? Doesn't she know we have family members from Canada to Minnesota? How selfish they are! How critical, judgmental!
Let it go, Kathy. But as I pulled into my driveway, it hit me. You're doing the same thing she is! Being petty! And not Richard Petty, though we live near the Darlington Raceway.
I'd meant no harm. It was long ago. A little thing. It seethed in her heart for years, simmering until it boiled over when she saw me. But then I'd let her heat ignite me into seething too. I'd become indignant in just those few minutes.
A verse came to mind. Great peace have they who love your law and nothing shall offend them.
How quickly peace flees when petty things offend! Offences can go both ways, received or given. Several take-away lessons came to me through this encounter.
1. Don't mull a grievance. Pray first.
2. If peace does not come, seek out the person. You may need to apologize, rather than gripe. Or you may need to ask if you've offended them.
3. Bring every thought into captivity. Discipline your mind not to recite the negative. It breeds contempt.
4. When wronged, you may sit on the pity pot briefly (or de-briefed!) Just don't stay there long enough to get ring-around-the-hiney.
Boy! I hope she doesn't read my blog or I'll be in trouble til Jesus comes. Her name is Rumplethinskin, just in case.
Let it go, Kathy. I finally did.
Living peacefully with all men, as much as lieth within me,