And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.”
I am not sure how many of you out there reading this blog are customer service personnel, but, I noticed something about myself the other day. I answer phones for the company I work for and I literally caught myself thinking, “Man! I wish I was as nice in person as the girl on the phone.” Now, I’m not saying I am not a nice person, however, there is just an extra nice side to the Brenda who answers the phone. I like hearing her cheery voice. I admire how she tries to help those who are calling even if she is unsure of how to direct the call or answer the questions, I just like how positive she is, even on her rough days.
How many of us have different personalities according to our environments? We are nicer in some arenas. We are more patient with certain people. We tend to be kinder when we are with friends than with family. Sometimes we have a tone. Often we are thinking things opposite of what we are really saying. To me this is where we need to take every thought captive. We need to evaluate the conversation we are speaking aloud and compare it to the one going on in our head.
I remember thinking people never really understood my mom. Everyone thought she was great. She was a hugger at church. She greeted everyone with a smile and a great big Hello. She was friendly and attentive. She helped with Girl Scouts and church events. She was creative and crafty. She just seemed like a happy-go-lucky person, outside of the home. Now don’t get me wrong, my mom was doing her best, however I used to get so frustrated with other peoples perspective of my mom.
Not many people knew the mom that I lived with. Rarely did anybody on the outside see her temper or hear her yelling. When she was away from home or entertaining a guest she was a different person. She was sweet and kind. When she was home, she was always angry at my dad or mad because my room wasn’t clean enough. She had certain ways of doing things and got frustrated if we did not do things the same way. Yet, in all of this I knew I was loved. I knew I had value to her. I just wish I could have seen more of the side others received from her.
I remember a time when I was about five years old. I was in my pajamas and wearing my favorite blue robe. My dad and I were watching Elvis Presley on the television while mom was in the bathroom crying. I had no idea of what was going on, I just remember my dad seemed worried and unsure of what to do. I did not know my mom was attempting to commit suicide. Looking back I can see the fear on my dads face. He was scared of what might happen. As he pounded on the door and pleaded with my mom, I could hear the uncertainty in his voice.
After finally convincing my mom to go to the hospital, we were sitting in the waiting room. I was crying at this point and I kept asking to see mom. Dad asked the nurse if we could go in and see her and she let us in. This was a moment in my life that I may never forget. This was a moment where my perspective was changed. This was a moment where I felt some of the sharpest rejection. As we approached her, she pushed us away and said very firmly, “I don’t want to see you.” I took that so personally even at five years of age. When my dad retold me this story years later, he said she was pushing him away not me. Those words she spoke were meant for him…not me.
I said all that to say this, there is often a different person running around on the inside of us than who we let the public see. We are over friendly in certain areas of our lives because we are trying to hide our pain. Not many people knew how badly my mom was hurting. No one ever saw her rejection. Very few knew her struggles with my dads drinking problem. No one probably understood her daily struggle with feeling inadequate because she could not hold down a job. All they ever saw was the woman who seemed to love life. I wish my mom would have know how much I did love her.
This is my desire. To be as happy on the inside as my “answer the phone” voice portrays. I want God to come in and heal all of the broken parts of me. I want to live life to the fullest, but this means I have to allow God to come in and heal me. I need to choose forgiveness for the wrong perspective I had of my mom.