It is so had to do, acting without expecting. Two plus two equals four but life is not mathematics. One action does not necessarily equal an expected result.
Several years ago I was on staff at a large organization and following a particularly long meeting I was among a group of members talking in a hallway. The conversation didn’t last long but I said something in passing that hurt the feelings of a fellow staff member. I didn’t realize it until that evening when I received a long email about what I had said and done. It took me by complete surprise. I sent an email back immediately apologizing and promising to be more careful with my words and received another email outlining other things I had done that this staff member found irritating and insulting. Again, I apologized and began looking at my words and behavior to see if I could find all of these faults. I didn’t agree with everything this staff member wrote but I felt they deserved enough respect from me to pray for greater self-awareness in all my interactions.
This is why expectations can be so dangerous. We may know, or hope we know, our intentions as we develop and cultivate relationships, make our way with others along this path called life. We may not wish to hurt others or offend them. Our life can be about peace and kindness but it may not always be perceived that way. We must purposefully live well but not expect our lives to be beyond questioning. When we make a mistake or someone is hurt by something we have done, even if we believed we acted innocently, we seek forgiveness and restoration so that our lives match the intent of our hearts.
Yesterday I wrote about changing the oil & oil filter on my John Deere lawn tractor. (https://thewannabesaint.com/2016/06/24/not-comfortable/) It was a new experience for me. Today, I continued working on the deck extension which is almost complete. As I cut, hammered, screwed and ensured the deck was level and secure I thought about the oil filter.
“An oil filter is a filter designed to remove contaminants from engine oil, transmission oil, lubricating oil, or hydraulic oil. Oil filters are used in many different types of hydraulic machinery.” #Wikipedia
I reflected on the need of a filter for our lives. We live in a dirty and difficult world. All around us are contaminants which can pollute our spirits, cloudy our vision, stain our intentions and bespatter our minds. It’s incredibly hard, if not impossible, to keep ourselves untainted.
What’s required is a wisdom greater than our own, a spirit that’s stronger, a cleaner which can keep our vision, intentions and minds clear. Being aware and admitting our need for a filter are the first steps in living a bright, grace filled existence in a too often dark and dingy world.
On my way to the office today I stopped at a drive-thru and ordered a drink to take with me to a meeting. There was a long line and I didn’t have too much time to spare. The woman in the car in front of me ordered and then pulled up, but not enough for me to be able to move into position and place my order. After a few moments, waiting, I said out loud, seemingly to myself, “Let’s go lady!” I had already rolled down my window and then noticed she had hers down also. “Oops,” I thought to myself, “I hope she didn’t hear me.” I watched to see if there was any reaction from the woman and didn’t discern any. I breathed a sigh of relief and didn’t mutter another word.
“No one regrets a harsh word unspoken.” -Wisdom Proverb
It was a good reminder to me that words, once uttered, can never be taken back. Whatever the circumstances, or intentions, our words have the power of life and death. We should always be mindful to use them wisely.