Since posting the blog below, I realise that I’ve fallen into the ‘Misinterpretation Because You Can’t Hear My Tone Of Voice’ trap.
The intentions of my musings are to laugh at myself, so if I’m penning a report about someone who’s annoyed me, the conclusion is not to be centred on their faults, but myself and how I’ve handled the situation, right or wrongly.
However, after reading this article, my ‘nearest & dearest’ and a good friend both assumed I was ranting about the person and reacted accordingly; criticism from the former and sympathy from the latter.
I was horrified to think I’d been grossly misunderstood and I said to hubby, “But you know me more than anyone, so if you’ve taken it the wrong way, so will others. And they did. Oops.
So, I’m adding this addendum to explain that I was not purple with rage when I wrote it, nor am I searching for another church.
I’m just having a laugh at my expense –
– like I tried to say below but miserably failed…in the large scheme of things, neither of these ‘tragedies’ are a big deal. Now, back to the blog…
I sat in the car last night and my body began to twitch. My elbows were rhythmically jerking, my lips were pursed like my teeth were stuck together and I could feel my eyes narrowing.
My husband Anwar glanced at me with a knowing frown.
“I can feel a blog coming on.” I mused as I stared straight ahead.
“Sharon…” he sighed, with his usual air of wisdom. “Just let it go.”
What is it about church cleaning nights that put me into a frenzy? We are taught most avidly about the blessing of serving and I think I do it with the most beautiful attitude. I had been allocated the men’s toilets and was a little put out at first at the thought of being faced with 10 happy urinals needing my magic touch, but I soon realised I was being a wimp and got on with it. So what if there’s more muck in the bowls? Our male friends just eat more that’s all. Who cares about yellow stains and grubby sinks? I pulled up my sleeves and got stuck in and was very pleased with my lavender smelling, sparkling ceramic, floor glistening loo.
I love these nights.Who cares if by the time I reach the cleaning cupboard, all the vacuums have gone? I don’t mind if when finally procuring one, it doesn’t pick up a scrap of mess. The young lady who’s in charge says it’s because people don’t bother to check to see if the bag is full. Fair enough. I can always hunt down a dustpan and brush as a great substitute. Or, I could simply change the bag.
The bulging nappy bins are often a proof of how many children we have in our church, so instead of moaning about the pungency wafting up from the thin white plastic, I thank God for the many babies and toddlers he’s blessed us with.
So what’s my problem?
Well, one fine evening I was searching for one of our beloved, special cloths that are solely used to wipe surfaces like non-dusty wood. Our 800 member congregation were given strict instructions that these cloths have a particular purpose and should be lightly sprinkled with water just before being applied to the area to be cleaned. To give us a sense of ownership, we were instructed to pay for them ourselves, so at the end of each cleaning night, the leaders of the groups, hunt frantically in their wet bag to make sure theirs have been returned. Most folks have sewn their name on the label and yes, we are very particular about these little pieces of material.
One of mine was missing. Nobody in my group knew of it’s whereabouts and I was getting a tad irritated (they are special remember). Suddenly, a young lad from another group (that’s key to my choleric outburst) started laughing. “Oh, I put it in that bag over there. I used it to clean the toilet because I couldn’t find anything else.”
My fists and teeth clenched at the same time.
I glared at him as my thoughts spoke out loud in my head:
“First of all, you’re not in our group so why were you rummaging about in our bag? Secondly, you know that they are not for loos! They are for cleaning wood! Pretty, smooth, good quality beech!”
This next bit was said aloud. Very loud.
“Why did you put our red cloth down the toilet?!”
The more he laughed, the more I seethed.
Needless to say, on subsequent cleaning nights, I was like a lion around her cubs whenever someone approached the cloth bag.
Sometimes and sometimes often, people do not see the need to apologise for actions they have done that have upset another. They may even tell you to your face that they don’t see what the fuss is about. They may even laugh.
We have a choice how to respond. We have to forgive. That means not going on and on about it, like we haven’t.
I had trouble with that one.
Then yesterday, like I stated earlier, we were down at the church cleaning again. I left the men’s toilets happy that it was spotless and wandered downstairs for another job. To my surprise everything else had been done so I was sent upstairs with the others to begin setting out the food and drinks that we normally have at the end. And yes, of course we do sometimes still feel dirty after delving in muck. And yes our hands are dry and our clothes are splattered with anti-bac and water. And yes we are tired after a long day at work, but ‘fellowshipping’ together is important, so we sit down and chat to each other and get to know each other better.
I had brought along a delicious soft white crusty loaf of bread which was cut into small slices and also, a fruit loaf. To compliment these, I had placed a large dollop of margarine in a tub and another large dollop of jam, smooth, no-annoying-fruity-bits, jam, in another.
Now, I would have been happy if it had all got eaten because that what it was there for. I would have been happy if, when noticing an empty table at the end of the night, someone had told me that a hungry student had picked up the lot and taken it home. But no. Earlier, I had glanced across at the serving table and could clearly see that there was a lot of produce left. This is mainly owing to the fact that other people had brought along more exciting food. There were pink coconut marshmallows, chocolate cupcakes and salty crisps.
I enquired where the bread had gone. Silence. Two young girls looked across at the large bin then quickly averted their eyes. Suddenly an accusing finger emerged. “He’s thrown it in the bin”. Glad to be blaming somebody else, especially after noticing my bubbling wrath, they pointed to a young lad who stood by, nervously giggling. “
“Well I did shout out and ask if anybody wanted it.”
“Well I didn’t hear you!”
Anwar started to pull me away as he was tired, thirsty (he did not get a drink) and most importantly, did not want me embarrassing him. I was just about to dutifully exit through the door when I remembered my beloved pots. “The jam! Where’s the jam? And the marg’? What have you done with it?” This time, everybody looked at the bin and began laughing.
It’s almost 24 hours since I lost my delicious nourishment to a giant plastic muck- eater and I’m trying to forget about it. Yes, I should do like Anwar says, “Let it go.” Yes, you guessed it – I did start singing the signature song from ‘Frozen’ but I found it hard to warble the last line. I can’t shout, “It doesn’t bother me anyway.” when it does!
But I realise I need to get perspective and forgive.
Afterall, I have never ever gone to bed hungry and I have always been provided for by God. And millions of people all round the world are losing things far more precious than a bit of flour and water.
I am blessed, truly blessed and I need to remember that.
I aint half hungry though. But there’s no margarine and the loaf…it’s sitting in the dark, covered by wet tea bags, polystyrene cups and mould.
“Yes, if you forgive others for their sins, your father in Heaven will also forgive you for your sins. But if you don’t forgive others, your father in Heaven will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6)