Sunday, September 13, 2009

Being a Jerk

            Not the best weekend we’ve had so far, that’s for sure. Both Saturday and Sunday I woke up upset. The baby has been screaming at night again. Something’s gotta change or I’m gonna break.
            She’s just too close to the bed, so when she wails it can shoot through to the core of your being, and when it continues it can seriously penetrate the soul with negative vibrations. At 3am this morning I was so upset -- we’d already had one scream-fest, so that when the baby started screaming again and Michelle started feeding her I snapped.
            “Why are you feeding her!? You’re teaching her that she needs food to sleep! This is why she’s having so much trouble!!!”
            I was exasperated, and definitely unfriendly. Michelle told me we’d talk about it in the morning. I tossed and turned and didn’t sleep well. It’s hard to sleep when you feel so much anger.
            The next morning, church was good for me, especially the time of confession, and in between things I went downstairs and found Michelle in the kids’ room. “Hi.” I said.
            “You know, you can be a jerk sometimes,” she said.
            “Are you giving me permission, or describing me?” I asked.
            She smiled.
            “Yeah, I know,” I said. “I’m sorry I was so impatient with you.”
            After church a friend came up to me and said, “So I hear you yelled at your wife last night.”
            “My goodness, what a small church! Word travels fast around here…” I replied with a smile.
            She smiled back, “Me and my husband were arguing once a few blocks from the church when someone from the church saw us. I suppose it’s better that these kinds of things aren’t kept secret anyway.”
            “True. True,” I replied and thought about that. It’s really true, isn’t it. These are the kinds of moments that every human being tries to cover up. It’s embarrassing to be a jerk, especially when you’re a part of a church.
            Something about church, I think, makes people try to cover up their failings. It’s like deep down we think we’re supposed to be better people because we’re a part of a community that’s trying to make a better situation of their lives. But that’s really the opposite of what Jesus was all about. He was more into saying, “Look, you guys are jerks. And God still loves you. So admit it to each other and God will work quicker to change you for the better.”
            Something like that, anyway. I think there’s some real wisdom in that. If we cover things up, we allow it to fester and turn into something even uglier. If we expose things right away, we’re allowed to heal rather quickly. And that’s what we all really desire to do, isn’t it?

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