I opened an email and found myself ready to scream. How could this have been sent? What possessed his mind at the time? Was there a gram of thinking going on?
Even as my mind raced, I recalled the calm questions of an old boss that came at an odd time of the morning. He questions to me were delivered in a soothing, almost quiet voice. I sensed an attitude of curious wonder. I quickly forgot the hour, and shared the story with him.
He listened with a gentle question here and there. As I finished, his words left me feeling good. “Thanks. It is helpful to hear your story. I appreciate your candor. Perhaps you might consider a few points if this comes up in the future.”
His advice was timely and insightful. I ended the call by expressing my appreciation for his time and willingness to give me the feedback. On reflection, questions began to surface.
What did he call so early in his day? What triggered his call? Perhaps I should get some more background to what had just unfolded.
On investigation, I discovered that his reaction an email of mine was anything but positive! He was angry, frustrated, and vexed. Why did I think this way? How could I have done this? What blocked my vision of the bigger picture?
As I took a deep breath, relaxing into a state of learning and listening, I found myself remembering that good intent should never be confused with the best decision. In an old story, a wisdom father reflected on his choices when he was young. “Backed with the full authority of the high priests, I threw these believers—I had no idea they were God’s people!—into the Jerusalem jail right and left, and whenever it came to a vote, I voted for their execution.” (Acts 26.10) He was passionate. He was intentional. He was also misguided.
I was misguided in the past. On that occasion, my boss took me to a place of learning and I grew. Can I do anything less today?