We all have those moments where we're blindsided by comments we're not expecting, events we never saw coming, or even opportunities that came knocking while we were out in the yard. I don't know about you, but usually when these things happen to me, I react in one of two ways.
1) I say/do nothing. I am so caught off guard, that I usually stare and stammer.
2) I say/do something I end up regretting later.
Once in a rare while, I will come up with something clever in response - but it's usually a day later. I always think, "What I SHOULD have said, was....." I have surprised myself on a few occasions by having the right (or just plain witty) response there on the spot. More often than not, though, you can take your pick from one of the two reactions above, and you've pegged me.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I am a very reactionary and very emotional person. I not only know what I think about something, I feel what I think. Sometimes to a fault!
I have been known to embarrass my husband a time or two from speaking my mind or acting on emotional impulse. Mostly these instances occur in the "customer service" situations in life. A grouchy server, an incompetent agent over the phone, a cashier who cares more about their conversation with another employee than about the customer who's forking money over....you get the idea. I say something! I do! And I also commend those who do their customer service jobs excellently. I had a fantastic wake up call one day while working in Corral West Ranchwear.
I was crabby. (I know ~ hard to believe!) I had waited on these customers and wasn't very patient, or necessarily kind, to them. It was a couple, looking for some dress wear. We found a suit for the gentleman and a dress for the woman, and they came up to pay. The woman set the clothes on the counter and asked me, "Are you having a bad day?" I stopped. I stared. I stammered. "I'm so sorry..." I said, and I began to confess why my mood was downtrodden. I had no reason, no right, to treat them unfairly, and I was so glad she called me on it. They came back to the store and were repeat customers of mine. The husband was a pharmacist in WalMart and always stopped to chat whenever I was shopping for vitamins. They were some of the sweetest, most genuine people I ever came to meet - and I wouldn't have ever known it if she hadn't have brought my attitude to my attention.
More than once, however, my attitude has not been so easily corrected.
One day, Brent and I were in a very heated argument. I couldn't tell you about what, because I don't remember. (Isn't that always the way?) For whatever reason, we were in the car together, arguing, and we were both hungry. Not a good situation, regardless. Those of you who know me, know how I get when I don't eat! Give a sister some food! We went to the drive through in Burger King, made our order, and I drove up to the window. I had written a check for the total I was told at the speaker-thing. (Don't judge me for my lack of technical terms!) When we got the window, the employee informed me the shake-maker was down, and I couldn't get my strawberry shake. If I wanted something else, they would have to re-ring my total. I was clearly upset - it is never a question if you see my face and I am upset. She didn't know that my husband and I had been arguing in the car, but all she had to do was look at my face, and she would have known all was not right in my world. I started ripping up my check. Her mumbled retort was, "I could have given you change, but whatever."
I looked up at her. Picture this: Raised eyebrows, mouth open in disbelief, ripped check in hand. She shrugged. I turned my head forward, put the car in gear, and drove off. We didn't eat Burger King that day. How dare some clueless BK employee egg me on when I'm already clearly upset!!
What I should have said was, "I'm sorry." First, to Brent for our argument. Then, to the BK employee who had to deal with a cranky customer.
When I was younger, my dad used to always say that trying to get me to show affection was like trying to hug a porcupine. I was one of the ones who was always embarrassed to show my family members I cared for them at all - let alone that I actually loved them. I have definitely changed over the years. Sometimes I think I make others uncomfortable when I gush over them. There was a time, though, that my own dad thought of me as a porcupine.
My sister's birthday one year, our dog ended up with it's leg broken and my mom got a phone call that my grandpa was dying from cancer. Happy birthday to Veronica ~ everyone was a mess. I remember standing there, while Mom sat crying on the phone. It's no secret that Mom's and my relationship was "strained" to say the least, between the ages of 11 and 21. I was maybe 13, 14 at the oldest this particular instance. That night I stood there, not having any idea how to comfort my mother. I put my hand softly on her shoulder, and told her I was going to bed.
What I should have said was, "I love you. So much."
Things happen that we can't prepare for. Situations arise, and we will have no idea what to say. We will stare, and we will stammer. Sometimes we will say or do something we will end up regretting later. I know now, though, there are things I should always say.
"I'm Sorry." I will make mistakes, and I will need to take ownership of them. For the things I have done wrong, and for the feelings I have hurt along the way, I'm sorry.
"I Love You." For all of you ~ you who need to know, who may question, and who should never doubt. You are so very loved. I love you with the love of the Lord! Or as Buzz Lightyear puts it, "to infinity - and beyond!" I love you.
"I Forgive You." For everyone who's hurt me. I held a grudge. I probably even let you know it. Believe me when I say now, though, I forgive you.
"Will You Forgive Me?" To everyone I've wronged, and to those I've offended, and to those I've gone off on, yelled at, talked about ~ whether or not I know if I've hurt you...Will you forgive me?
I don't want my legacy to be one of things I said that I'm not proud of. I also don't want it to be empty of things I never said that I should have.
One more thing.
If I've never said it, if you've never heard me say it, or if I've never said it the way it needs to be said.....What I should have said was this ~ God loves you. He created you for a purpose, He is the sustainer of hope and a future, and He is calling for you and for me. Answer His call. Don't look back and ever feel like it's too late. Don't wait for your "yes Lord" to be what you should have said.