Tuesday, April 19, 2011

self righteousness you could crack walnuts on

i love that line. but i'm getting ahead of myself...

i've had a crappy couple of days. that difference in management paradigms and philosophies of life that i mentioned in the last blog? there is a friendship here that spills over into many parts of my life...it's a small town. and i have been really hurt by this person (who, as things usually seem to go, also feels upset by me...or, well...she did...now that she's gotten it all off of her chest, maybe she feels better...i don't know...). anyway...i often feel torn in these situations. i want to fire back the ways that she's hurt me, betrayed my trust, wrecked my peace. (i am laughing as i type this...i swear, i am so melodramatic...) but i do really feel hurt. and i do really want to tell her. but i am too angry right now. so i will wait. until i can be honest and state how i feel without inserting some passive aggressive bullshit that will only make things worse. (not that how i honestly feel is guaranteed to improve the situation, but sometimes we must take that step forward in faith....right?........right?!?!)

anyway, i've been working on cooling down. for almost two full days now. it's hard...cooling down. and like some folks who offer up their prayer and then find a random passage in the bible and see how it speaks to them...sometimes, on really bad nights, i offer up my horrible insides and find a random anne lamott essay and see what it has to tell me. now, i've read anne lamott's books many times. so it is not unusual for me to be familiar with whatever essay i randomly choose. last night, the essay i randomly chose was called "the carpet guy"...and yes, i was familiar with this essay. like that feeling when you know you're going to hear a story from your mother...a story you've heard again and again...and you know it's lesson...and you also know it's relevance to whatever has prompted your mother to tell it this time...but you also know you're going to have to listen to the whole story and let the lesson unfold word by word, pause by pause... that's how i felt when i saw the essay was "the carpet guy." but, like a good girl who always eventually takes her medicine when she's told, i read the essay.

i have to admit, when i got to the line that said "you could have cracked walnuts with my self-righteousness," i knew i was in the right place. the fact that the author can admit this about herself makes it so much easier to confront the same truth in me. i mean truly, i was pretty worked up when i sat down to read...ranting in my head...indignant about the responsibility for her hurt feelings laid at my feet while my feelings went trampled or ignored...i may have even been heaping on other times i felt similarly that didn't have all that much to do with the present situation...you know, like when my mom accused me of saving my lunch money to buy joints with, only i thought drugs cost thousands of dollars...i might've thrown on a few unrelated injustices...i mean, maybe...

but then the essay went on to say,

"Jesus doesn't hold this against a person. His message is that we're all sort of nuts and suspicious and petty and full of crazy hungers, and everything feels awful a lot of the time, but even so--one's behavior needs to be better. One needs to be decent. So I would try."

can i just say that sometimes it annoys the hell out of me how anne does that? reels you in with a perfectly good line about cracking walnuts on one's self-righteousness, and then clobbers you with some sense of sisterhood and a personal commitment to try harder. it's enough to make me drink gin. (ha!)

anyway...that last part i quoted...it made me cry. because i could relate to it. and i so badly wanted the message to be that this other person's behavior needed to be better. (oh how i wanted to MAKE her behave better...really, it's awful stuff that comes out me sometimes.) but i knew it was my behavior that needed to be better. and it made me cry. because i knew i could do better.

by the way, this essay is in a book called grace (eventually). when you open my book, which anne signed right in front of me (i'dliketomention), you find this inscription...

February 16, 2008
You gave this book to yourself the evening before you ran the Austin Half Marathon. May you keep meeting challenges with grace, humor, and faith.

yeah...what i said.


1 comment:

JO said...

I know that essay. I know that feeling. And I most definitely know that struggle to do better. Hang in there, babe. You're in my prayers.