on sunday i had a blow-out with neta. the verbal kind, not the hair-do. neta works with me at cafe bari, and she’s great. or should i say, usually she’s great…and funny, and interesting, and even more so because she’s israeli and well, israelis are just funny and interesting people. you’d have to have made friends with a good 20 or 30 of them to know what i mean. anyway, this blow-out happened because i finally had to step up and do what i’d been threatening to do for months, and that’s send her home if i caught her playing on her phone while she’s working. i’ll spare you the details, but it ended with me feeling great– in terms of being confident i made the right decision, and doubly proud of myself for not being emotionally topsy-turvy–, and with neta leaving quite upset. in the moment, she accused me of being an unfair boss and only seeking her out for punishment. which is completely untrue; if only she knew how much i despise handing out punishments, and simultaneously, how much i like her. she also basically told me i’m doing a bad job as a manager because i don’t see how much everyone else is messing up.
but today, she said, “I’m sorry.”
and it– it just turned my whole day around. i thought about the situation this morning while brushing my teeth, both wondering how she would react as well as the reactions of the rest of the staff. ‘Am I the wicked witch now?’ ‘I only have a month left here, I don’t want everyone to hate me.’ and so on, and so on went the thoughts. each one was followed by the same peaceful reminder that it was a fair decision, but still, i don’t think anyone likes the idea of walking into a tense environment. thus, the apology was that much better. i didn’t need it, didn’t expect it, but i really appreciated it. since i have been developing out of having a bad temper most of my life, i am used to offering an apology. where other people have to swallow down lumps of pride before heartfelt words can roll out of their mouths, i do it with no problem. i’ve said so many deeply hurtful things to ex’es and family members when enraged, only to then come begging for forgiveness. this has happened more times than i’ve been apologized to, that’s for sure. so for me, it’s nothing. when i say it’s nothing, what i mean is that i immediately like to correct a situation when i’m standing in the wrong, and i make sure that i recognize what my words/actions have done. but for many people, apologizing is a much bigger thing. i made sure to convey how much i respected neta for saying it, and we had a nice laugh. i felt a sense of relief.
there’s an element of people bondage that i’m trying to get at it here. people bondage is simply being bound or constrained by what other people think of you, how high or how low they esteem you as a person to be. and that can include your actions, your choice in spouse, how you dress, etc. and i refuse to be in people bondage. i said refuse. i choose to make sure i don’t say deeply hurtful things, and that i regard others’ feelings as much as i regard my own. but as for people bondage, i’m done. i was prepared to be looked at as the wicked witch if necessary, prepared for any punishing looks. i was prepared for gossip, or pouting, or anything else. because i’m growing, and i’m not shrinking back. i’ve been saying “I’m sorry” for way too many things lately. i’ve been saying it so much that i don’t even mean it. someone bumps into me and i’m the one making sure they know i didn’t mean to. didn’t mean to what? to be standing in the place where i was standing when you bumped into me? didn’t mean to be in your way, a double-wide object you couldn’t maneuver around? i’ve been apologizing for being tired, for needing to go to the bathroom twice an hour– i drink alot of water–, for eating fattening food when it’s exactly what i want to eat, for responding to emails a day late instead of the moment i read them. and yet, i love this part about me. that caring, thoughtful woman isn’t going anywhere. but she’s going to stop apologizing when there’s nothing to be said. there was no wrong done. so there’s no apology needed. i plan to embrace the AWKWARD SILENCE.
i plan to find the balance between having to do what is hard when we are leading a group, and what comes naturally for me. i plan to be an excellent leader in all of my future employment. i plan to learn how to be both firm and gentle. shoot, i plan to speak about God for a living and i’m going to need to know how to love people and give them the hardcore TRUTH at the same time. i know i can do it. and again, that little peaceful breeze, that confident reassurance that i will indeed master this trick just floated on down. if Jesus can be a peace-maker without compromising, then so can i. we are called to be the light on the hill, and to be peace-makers. blessed are the peace-makers.