Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Egg Toss

My husband and I have known each other since we were twelve and thirteen. I am not sure if you remember what it's like to be twelve or thirteen years old, but for us, we remember because we remind each other what the other one was like at that age when awkward, exaggerated, emotional confusion and mania collide. Savage silliness is an understatement. My friends from middle school have informed me that I was a bit hyper and my husband, Stephen, only knew how to have a friendly, fun time, so you can imagine how an egg toss between me, the boy-crazy spaz, and Stephen, utterly oblivious to female wiles, would turn out . You would think that we would be an unlikely success in an egg toss, but oh contrair! Focusing all the wooing electricity and the flirtatious tendencies, plus a friendly competition, surprisingly equals seventh grade egg toss champions. I learned that the most important aspect to winning an egg toss is in the catch. You must give a little. Stiff fists and elbows will only end in a mess. You must loosen up and softly receive the egg going with the egg's force and easing it to a gentle halt. No matter how fast and forcefully the egg is launched, a tender interception avoids a broken egg; not to mention, a high five from my good-looking crush.

Our egg toss days came flooding back into my mind this past week. We received a complaint, someone launched a spiraling egg right in our face. I was upset. I felt unjustly accused and I wanted to hurl the egg right back in her face so she could see what it feels like. How dare her?!

My husband's reaction was quite different; he wrote:

I am so sorry that she is upset, and I assume full responsibility for the problem....
I greatly apologize for my negligence and will give her my apologies as well. Please know, though, that if we ever damage something, I will report it immediately and offer to pay for the repairs.... Again, I am so sorry that the issue has escalated and will continue to do my best to allay the frustration.

Do you know what the recipient said in response to Stephen's reaction? She said, "Thank you! I have NEVER had this response to a complaint!"

Thank the Lord that Stephen gave a little; he tenderly intercepted the criticism. If I would have written back, I would have started a stiff-fisted, never ending fight resulting in a yucky, yokey mess, but Stephen's words of gentleness displayed the character of Christ to someone who had NEVER, in the face of a complaint, experienced!

In addition our children saw my husband seek authentic reconciliation.  He baked her a pound cake and wrote an apology.  The kids decided that they wanted to help him say that they were sorry, too.  My five year old made this SORE (sorry) card:

I'd say that's a successful egg toss!

Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle [soft] answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
For more on handling conflict and offensive relationships, check out the post by Jill That Fox of Offense and Annette's post Sometimes Silence is a Good Thing.

2 Spout:

Love this! Oh, I can so relate. How is it men have a gift for 'compartmentalizing' their thoughts from their emotions sometimes? My husband is the same way! My initial gut instinct is to want to defend myself, but sometimes people just want to get a reaction or rise out of us. Responding is 10 times better than reacting. Amen? How powerful are these three little words: "Please forgive me..." or "Forgive them, for they know not what they do..."

In the end, they both said that I handled it better than they did. It was tough, but in a way, it was easy. I felt so blessed that all God had been trying to teach me came together for those 2 episodes where I was attacked professionally. I also learned the grace to allow them to behave badly. My daughter also mentioned that "gritting your teeth" does not count even if you have a soft voice when speaking with your children. :) cathy k

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