Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ain't Nobody Got Time for Grouchy!

{A post from the archives...December 2011. }

It's getting down to that make-or-break time in December when it seems that the stress level for many of us gets turned up just a smidge with each and every passing hour. I know that as the clock ticks and pressure builds, my attitude seems to suffer. When my attitude is less than what it should be, others around me suffer too. I never seem to realize what I'm doing in time to stop myself. I do, however, realize it when I experience someone else's grouchiness. I notice the grouchiness of others even more when I see someone being less than gracious to my kids or my Man. I am also very quick to notice when complete strangers are rude to one another.

Sometimes, it just feels good to be a bit snippy doesn't it? Some things just feel better to have been aired. Sometimes it can even be refreshing to say the very first thing that comes to mind when someone says or does something that really melts your butter. It's kind of like a little pressure release valve to just spell it out for some poor soul who doesn't have a clue that they've not been performing according to expectations.

I'm a good one for coming up with a quick, cutting remark. Oh, the conversations I have with folks in my head are so witty and intelligent and self-serving Every so often a line or two from my mental conversation bubbles up and before I realize it, my ears are hearing what only my brain was intended to. Most of the time, it feels really good to be heard and maybe to shock a person or two with my rapier wit...that is until quietness falls at day's end and I lay my head on the pillow and realize just what I've done.

As Christians, we never have the luxury of being unkind. 

My pastor says that from the pulpit sometimes. It's one of those phrases that sounds nice and tidy while I'm sitting in the pew but then sounds a much different note when I feel like being unkind to the pastor or anyone else who might have hurt my feelings. I rationalize that when I've spouted back to someone, I'm teaching them a lesson that they need to learn. I'm teaching them not to treat ME that way ever again! I'm teaching them that I'm as willing as they are to be offensive. Oh, and what about those who are often standing beside me when the urge to let loose strikes, what have I just taught them?

There are times too, like in the middle of December when you still don't have all of your decorations up, your Christmas cards are mocking you from your desk waiting to be addressed, you have a deadline or two ringing constantly in your brain, cookies to bake, and warm glowing family memories to make with your kids sitting round the fire...times when, through no fault of your own or anyone else's, you just feel snarky and feel you have the "right" to ease a little pressure by grouching at those whom you know won't grouch back.

There are those who won't grouch back you know...young children, your husband or wife, the cashier at the store, your best friend, the slow-moving senior adult in line ahead of you at the store who takes four months to count out correct change, your mom...ok, maybe not your mom but you get my point. What good does it do to get my nose all bent out of shape and get all dark and sour inside while on the outside I'm trying to roll snickerdoodles with my kids so that they can then go out into their worlds and spread Christmas cheer...the very opposite of what I've been spreading!

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say in my very long and rambling kind of way is...
Be Nice!
Before spouting off at someone, even if you are right, think about how it will make that person's rest-of-the-day. Will they look back on their encounter with you as a heart-filling or a heart-rending one? Will what you've said, or how you've said it have been a blessing to their day? 

Smile a bit, too while you're at it. It might be the only happy thing that the tired cashier gets to see all day! I saw an older lady lip synching Christmas carols in the mall the other day, hands waving to the beat as she marched from one store into another. It thrilled my heart which was good, 'cause I ran into an older man later that day who didn't thrill my heart at all...

For the remainder of December, when you feel like giving some soul a piece of your mind, whether deserved or not, consider simply giving that person Peace. Just peace. The peace of a quiet smile. The peace of not returning a harsh word. The peace of a gentle look instead of "the big eyes".  Peace. His Peace. Certainly not mine. 

Peace on Earth and...

                             ....GOODwill to men
                                                          ... and women
                                                                        ...and children...especially to three year olds...

                                                           ...and cashiers

                                        ...and senior adults

                ...and pastors...{and their short-tempered wives}




I'm pretty sure there's no end to those needing peace...
...peace and snickerdoodles! 
I'm on it! 
Join me won't you?
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27

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