The winds have been blowing a gale here in the mountains of New Mexico–and we live in the southern mountains–Ruidoso. As a matter of fact, they blew in snow to our 12,000 foot mountain on October 6th! Of course, it didn’t last long, but toward the middle of the month, snow came again, and this time at our home located at 7,000 ft. It’s really OK with us, ‘cuz we have two cozy gas fireplace stoves, one at each end of the house, and we can hunker down with a bowl of hot soup, homemade bread and each other, and we’re happy.
Other winds are blowing too though–winds of strife. Just this morning I received an early phone call from a dear friend, telling me about the latest antics at her place of work, where she is on the night shift. She unpacks boxes and place items on the shelves. She was telling me that her body is full of bruises, from being bumped by the boxes, that are, no doubt, really too heavy and bulky for a 60 year old woman to handle. But she keeps on keeping on because, as she says, “I gotta be able to pay my rent!”
She also told me about a co-worker who is one angry woman. Apparently she loves to torment my friend, telling her that she doesn’t know what she is doing, and taking apart what my friend has done, and re-doing it. My friend tells me that most of the folk who work her shift are either alcoholics or on drugs, or they are angry–like her co-worker.
I wonder–Have you noticed the uncooperative, resentful and/or antagonistic behaviors and attitudes of people around you? Have you turned on the evening news lately, and seen the aggressive behaviors of so many, who maim or murder, seemingly without cause. Do you ever wonder why people are so unhappy, and take out their world-view thoughts on others? Let’s take a look at that:
What causes folk to be so angry, resentful or antagonistic toward others? In most cases, they are like this because this is how they have been treated by others, especially in their childhood years. Take for instance a child raised in a home with parents who fight, where domestic violence is the norm, where children seem to be objects to be tortured and/or demeaned. Wouldn’t you be angry if you were that child? What you learned and took in as a child is what you would dish out to others. Any of the abuses, physical, emotional or sexual can and do cause feelings of anger and resentment. I think too about my friend who has this angry co-worker. My friend was a victim of rejection and emotional and sexual abuse as a child. So the question is: Why isn’t she as angry and abusive as her co-worker? Interestingly, she once was, and I knew her then. So why isn’t she now, you ask? She has chosen to recover from the abuses she received both as a child and in an abusive marriage. I am blessed to have had a small part in her recovery. So rather than fighting back with her co-worker, she opted to call me and talk about it, letting off some of the steam from the treatment she received last night at work. She will treat her co-worker in an entirely different way than she was treated last night.
Do you know someone who is like my friend’s co-worker? Consider treating them kindly. Think about discovering what your “friend” likes, and take him/her that thing as a small gift. Tonight, my friend is taking in a tasty tidbit to her angry friend, hoping that it may open a conversation in which my friend can share her own history and discover the cause for the co-worker’s angst. Then she can offer help–something to read, a listening ear, the suggestion of recovery in a small group.
The Good Book has something to say about this in Proverbs 15:1:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
It may take a little while, but if my friend continues to be kind to her co-worker, we may see her at a small group for recovery some day in the near future. Think seriously about being kind toward someone who seems to always try to “get your goat.” After a while, they will start to question why you do not respond in the manner in which they treat you, and then you can bless them with your recovery story, and offer a path to a life-change to them.
Proverbs 15:4 states:
“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”