Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pet peeves

We all have them, don't we?  Things that set our teeth on edge? All those habits, practices, actions of others might seem benign to them make us instantly angry.  Yeah, I have a few of these.

  • Towels left on the backs of wooden chairs
  • condiments left out on the counter
  • cars that are parked haphazardly on streets, narrowing the driving lanes
  • punctuation used incorrectly--especially apostrophes and quotation marks
  • improper grammar--"me and Joe are going to the store!" or "She gave the gift to Beve and I." (growl!)
  • unfolded laundry
 I admit, even now that they're young adults, I still correct my children's grammar.  I can't help it. I notice those improper use of words every single time.  That's what comes from having studied and taught English, and having written for all these years.  Imagine my editor, if you think I'm bad.  It's her job to make sure we get these things right.  Sure, I bend (ok, break) the rule about sentence structure--I use incomplete sentences all the time. Purposely. But I know what I'm doing, and why.  That's a far cry from ignorance or laziness.

Wow, I guess I have strong opinions about these things.  But the truth is, once I start thinking about what bothers me, both in grammar and in life, I get all worked up.  It changes the way I feel about people--the Beve, my kids, everyone around me.  Then life becomes about what they're doing to annoy me (as if it's about me!!!), rather than who they are.  These petty annoyances, are they 'hills I want to die on?' as J would say.  Is this what I want to focus on?

Colossians 3: 13 talks of this.  "Bear with each other, and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  Forgiveness about actual sins is something we're pretty conscious of in the church.  We talk a lot about it.  And most of this verse is about those real, done-on-purpose hurts we get from (and give to) others.  But this phrase, "Bear with each other," speaks directly to the pet peeves we have with each other.  Bear with the roommate who leaves dishes around, the husband who (like Barack Obama) throws his dirty socks on the floor, the sister who doesn't hang up her clothes, the dad who chews loudly.  Allow for the foibles of others--as they allow for those habits in us. Bear with the truth that we're all sinners, all made up of flaws and quirks. And beyond this, Paul tells us to forgive, yes, even these things. As Christ forgave--as He looked at Peter's rashness, the Sons of Thunder's arrogance and gall, and He forgave them those integral pieces of their personalities.

"Forgive as Christ forgave you."  Hmm, as He forgives me--for smacking my gum, looking at my split ends, annoying my family when I harp about their English.  He looks at these things--and whatever they are in you-- and says, "I see you, I know you, I made you to be mine.  Despite your various flaws and quirks, I love you."

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