Thursday, August 1, 2019

Walls Signs and Truth Bombs

I have to admit it. I love wall hangings made out of wood. I even don't care if they are a cast in plastic or metal. I like funny sayings and clever quips. I like decor that makes people stop in their steps and spend time reading, comprehending and digesting.  I like when I see one in a store, or a wall at a friends house or out and about and it makes me laugh out loud.

This past Tuesday, my family was at Parkway Pizza. If you haven't been to Parkway, please make a plan to go soon. They have a huge amazing menu, including many Gluten Free and Vegan options. When we sat down,  I took a look around as there was some new art work on the wall and signs about upcoming events.  I then spied a wood sign on the wall in the corner by the front windows.

Live. Laugh. Love. (All crossed out)
Don't Be A Jerk.

I laughed out loud, much longer than necessary and read it to my husband.  He smiled as he found the humor in it also.  I can't stand the signs that say Live Laugh Love, or even Hashtag Blessed.  Some just seem repetitive and trite. But Don't Be A Jerk resonated with me. 

Every day we come into contact with people we know and people we are meeting for the first time.  Some of these people are kindred spirits and others are challenging and the kind of people we work very hard to avoid.  Some of those people are cranky, constant complainers, horrible to other people and look for any reason to make their presence known as they are difficult and invoke dread on behalf of everyone that surrounds.   I admit it.  I am an avoider. If I meet someone who is all of these things, I will from the start deem them as "not for me." I tell myself that it isn't necessary to be friends with everyone I meet.  But that is really a cop out.  I don't want to put in the effort. 

Past relationships with difficult people have made me realize that it is usually me that puts in the effort in relationships. Especially when I think it is my job to crack away at the hard exterior shell that someone has worked so hard at perfecting around them. Why is it my job? Why me?  Chances are if the person is difficult with me, they are challenging with everyone. I am not a fixer, I can't fix people.  But I can be kind, I can soften them.  And I usually do.  I show them that I love them and will stick with them. I will show them that I will keep showing up, and keep coming back.  I am not walking away.  Sometimes I end up being the first person that doesn't walk away.  And the idea of that makes all the difference.  Even if a real true friendship isn't forged, the fact that I didn't go running for the hills from the start, matters.

While I acknowledge that I really don't want to put in any effort for nothing in return,  I remind myself of two things.  I just need to be kind and don't be a jerk.  Kindness.  It isn't always easy.  It requires us to flex some muscles that we don't use very much because when it is hard,  we won't work at showing it.  Don't be a jerk?  I can use my adult words and not return ugly with more ugly. How do I do this? By the grace of God.  It has nothing to do with me. It is all Jesus. 

I would be kidding you if I told you that there weren't a few days that began with the prayer- Jesus, please help me not be a jerk today.  -  Those are the days when I might be feeling quite poor, the days when sleep eluded me.  Those are the days when I am overwhelmed, have too many deadlines and not enough help.  Those are the days when parenting is such an exercise in tongue biting,  I don't think I am cut out for it.  But those are also the days when Jesus hears my prayer and sometimes I am even able to not be a jerk.

A difficult client. Or even a boss or coworker.  A challenging marriage. The parent who continually oversteps. Children who seem to not fear you or even God.  The woman in front of you at the check out lane.  The man driving behind you so close you are sure he can make out the odometer on your dash.  It doesn't matter who it is. 

We all need the reminder to be kind and not to be a jerk.  This week, my reminder came from a wood sign while enjoying pizza at Parkway. 

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Brass Knuckles

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