24 ¶ Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
As I was telling you in my most previous post, I spent the week with my mom (whose nickname is “Peachy”) at her assisted living home. I kept Mom’s routine with her and ate all my meals in the dining room with the other residents. I think by the end of it all they were starting to think I was a fixture. Everybody knew me. I was even taking on a “rock star” status, as you can plainly see in the schedule posted on the facility’s whiteboard below: 🙂
After several days there, the old-folks-home began to remind me of my years as a Jr. High teacher. You have all the same “kids” you have in a middle school — they’re just a bit older. In both places you’ll have a guy who swipes an extra Bingo card, just to show he’s one step ahead of you. There’s a moody girl who rolls her eyes when she’s asked to do anything. There’s a good-hearted guy who “Bingos” often and always gives his prizes to others. There’s a girl who doesn’t talk much, who quietly goes about helping others. And, there are girls and boys who go from table to table whispering and stirring up drama….
As I was sitting (and observing) one afternoon, I had a bit of a revelation. People often take great delight in being difficult. You see it in the way folks treat nurses, and waitresses, and pharmacy technicians. It carries with it the idea, “I’m going to show you how powerful I am by insisting on my rights.”
Now here’s the thing: The person may seem powerful to themselves at the time. But, later that evening, when the nurse, or waitress, or pharmacy tech is telling the story of their very bad day, they never recount how powerful the person seemed. They never talk about what an assertive person the perpetrator was. The only thing they say is how hard their day at work was, and how unchristian the person acted. And then they talk about what a rotten day they had.
Now, it’s one thing to write a story about other people being difficult. But I’m going to make a confession. In the past, sometimes I’ve been difficult with people who were assigned to serve me. And if you’re honest, I’ll bet you’ll admit the same is true for you. Maybe there’s no way to undo what we’ve already done. But we can ask the Lord to forgive us. And, by His grace, we can resolve to make the jobs of others easy. After all, it’s not that hard to NOT be difficult.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where everybody is happy after finally getting over the “stomach bug.”) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.