And then my phone rang.
Everything changed when the lady on the phone was at first complaining and blaming me for something I cannot change (I'm not a doctor, okay?), then was yelling at me. This happens a lot in my work. Failure to plan ahead on the part of a parent somehow equals my emergency or my fault. I'm used to it, and most days it doesn't bother me that much. I remind myself of the chaotic lives that many of our families here live, as well as the stress that poverty places on families, and I'm okay to be the one they "vent" to.
But this morning, it went right through me! I was mad. I wanted to yell back at her. Heck, I wanted to call her names too! Believe me when I say that she was MILD in comparison to what I often hear in a day, so I was perplexed as to why I was reacting som vehemently. Yet there I was, wanting to scream and yell and act like a fool. I'm actually quite grateful that she was so angry that she hung up on me!
I sat in my chair for a while, just processing this in my mind. And then I charted what had occurred. And then I opened the Word because obviously my soul was in need of some nourishment!
Scripture says this: "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you". (Ephesians 4:29-32)
Humility set in like a hurricane, crashing down the walls of my self-preserving inclinations. The only reason I wanted to lash out at that lady was to make myself look and feel better. And quite frankly, I think that's why all back-biting and negative speak exists. We want to look better, so we point out the flaws of others. We want to feel better, so we make others feel worse. I see it on facebook all the time: people making fun of others, lashing out, pointing out someone's mistakes, making themselves seem bigger than they really are so someone else will look smaller, making others look less important than us by elevating our importance.
Jesus said that the "first shall be last and the last will be first" (in Matthew 19). So why do I spend so much time trying to look better to others? Why not spend my time trying to be more like Christ? I'm guessing Christ would have spoken love to the lady on the phone this morning. I'm guessing He wouldn't speak rudely of having to wait at the doctor's office because He understood that there was another patient who needed the doctor's time emergently. I'm guessing Christ wouldn't proudly announce that he had "told that person off" or "blessed them out", but He would have loved. Simply loved. And by doing so, He changed those around Him for the better.
Thank goodness for second (and third, fourth and fifth) chances. Oh, my phone is ringing again. Wish me luck...