The conversation started off on a high note. Celebrations, updates, and mutual interests dominated the meeting from the start. As things developed, the mood took an interesting turn. Without anyone realizing the change, the casual updates morphed into larger and larger wind-ups. Each was a little more direct. The gentle edginess that they started with turned into a razor edge sword. Egos were slayed, feelings stripped bare, all things were apparently fair game.
As I look back on the words that flew effortlessly, it hurt. It hurt to hear the words. When I think of what I was doing, it should have hurt to say the words. At the time, I do not think anyone was thinking. Even with the laughter that seemed to come from everyone present, I am not sure anyone was fully sincere.
I wish I had been thinking. While I have taken steps to mend bridges and repair feelings, everything was avoidable. Even as I hold onto the logic that I was giving as I was receiving, I wonder where value and priorities were.
I hope I have learned a lesson. The friendships represented were and are strong. The individuals around the table have years of experience with me. I am confident that we will weather the storm. I also know the storm could have been avoided, at least when it comes to my part in it.
As much as I can imagine myself complaining, “You know how they kick me around – pin on me the donkey’s ears, the dunce’s cap,” (Psalm 69.19) it does not rationalize my words.
Thinking back and ahead, I find myself refocusing on the moment at hand. I know I want to make the most with whatever time I have. Every person I have met has a story within their story filled with pain and fear. I believe I have been called to represent compassion and mercy. I can learn. If I do, the present can be better than it was. It is an opportunity I want to seize with both hands, if only for me.