Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'd rather have a pity party, thanks.

That's what I said when one of my co-workers offered me an orange. For the Vitamin C. Because I was busy nursing a sore throat. Cough, cough. I'm a smidge overdramatic when battling viruses. Little bit.

Anywhozzle, sometimes when I get sick, or when I have a lot of things to bring in from the car, or when I have a lot of housework to do, I think, "Score one for roommates." (I pretty much have a daily "roommate vs. living alone" kind of mental scoreboard going on. Just go with it.) Sure, living with people is hard. They don't always do their chores. Or maybe you do something that irritates them. Schedules conflict and decorating preferences clash. It can be rough.

But it's nice to be able to text someone and ask for help bringing on all the groceries. Or share the burden of chores. Or bring you soup when you're sick... or at least throw some sympathizing glances your way. And good roommates - if you are lucky enough that they are good friends, too - will say things like, "You kind of suck right now." And yes, that counts as a point for the roommate scenario.

This is the epiphany I had the other day. I mentioned briefly that sometimes I feel like my life is full of busy-ness but devoid of meaningful relationships. Then I started thinking about what I wanted my relationships to look like and why they did not look like that. There are a lot of factors. Schedules. Personalities. Priorities. Normal things. Neutral things. But outside of those, something I kept coming back to was: me. Maybe I'm one of the reasons that I don't have the relationships that I want. So I've been praying. And thinking. What are the things that I do or don't do that might turn people off? That might be overwhelming? That might just plain annoy others?

And then I realized, it would take me a long time to come up with that answer on my own. When I look in the mirror, I do see a sinner, but I tend to under-emphasize my sinfulness and exaggerate my awesomeness. So unless someone comes up and holds a different kind of mirror up to me and says, "Hey, you are being really dumb and it really hurts my feelings when you ________." Or, "I think that you are making a mistake by ___________." Even, "When you do _______, it is overwhelming/frustrating/irritating."

Those are hard things to hear. And I confess that I don't handle critique well. I want to be a more gracious person and take correction like a grown up, not a three year old with a temper tantrum. But if I don't know my sins, how will I grow? If I can't see the things that are keeping me from focusing all of my attention on Christ, how will I learn? How can I have genuine relationships with people if no one tells me how I'm being dishonest?

I need people to tell me when I'm being dumb. Left to my own devices, I'm going to think I am pretty hot stuff. I'll strut around, patting myself on the back for my good deeds or for being the most mature person the room (never mind that I'm the only person in the room).

I've had a few roommates who were willing to do that for me. At the time, I was mad at them for doing it. How dare they have the audacity to tell Awesome Me that I was really a Sinful Me? What I didn't know then was that it was the most loving thing they could have done. Thanks, ladies.

(And no, it's not just roommates who do that. Friends. Family. I was just reflecting on roommates in particular but by no means is saying hard things limited to people who occupy the same household.)

Hey, you know how when you let out a really big sneeze and you get light-headed for a few minutes and you can pretty much feel your eyes glazing over with that weird "I'm getting sick" look and your core body temperature rises about 500 degrees and you start saying loopy things like "One time, at band camp..."?


Oh, me either.

If you need me, I'll be delirious with cough suppressant and carrying on a conversation with the light switch.

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazingly good writer. I have really enjoyed reading your stuff and just feel slightly sad that i never met the human being behind the words.
    Any man who does win you over, has bagged himself a proper prize.
    get well soon