Friday, December 9, 2016

On Doing The Right Thing

Stacey is a huge thorn in my side.  I have tried every method I can think of to do the right thing but everything ends up twisty and messed up.  Nothing seems to matter with her.  It makes me furious!  Stacey is also extremely important to people that I love and her behavior hurts them in a different way than it hurts me.  I am angry and they are heartbroken.  If you could play rock, paper, scissors with emotions, heartbreak trumps anger every time.

I am in the perpetual cycle of wanting to wash my hands of Stacey and wanting to reconcile on behalf of others.  I often end up somewhere in the middle.  Recently, I have been struggling with this lukewarm approach mainly because I want my loved ones to heal.  I have had all of these great ideas of reconnecting somehow but I can't follow through with them and my friends won't let me follow through with them even if I wanted to because, by the way, 'great' in this scenario means 'terrible'.  These ideas, at the core, are heartfelt but they are also laced with an I-Told-You-So dance and an attitude of "I'm being nice but at the same time reminding you of how awful you are."  So, I do nothing.

While I do nothing I think of what I should do, what I could do, what I'd actually like to do.  The words of a friend cut through the chatter in my head, "It is well.  It will be well."  It's not well, though.  It sucks.  This whole situation is terrible but dwelling on it is stealing my peace.  I long for it to be well.  What I would like to do is heap hot coals upon her head because she would DESERVE it!  No one would blame me.  What I would like to do is make her feel guilty about her actions and how they have affected us all.  I would like for her to feel some form of remorse but I know she feels powerful and justified.  

It is well.  It will be well.  Do the right thing.  

Sometimes the right thing is just leaving someone alone until they are ready.  Sometimes the right thing is waiting for an opportunity while also moving on with life.  Stacey is not ready for reconciliation, not mature enough to even think about it, and I don't see any opportunities in the next 10 years.  I'm a do-er, though!  I want to do something now!

It's a mind-numbing, heart palpitation inducing struggle.

Some time later I was driving home and I took in my surroundings as I sang along to the radio.  I had this calm wash over me that I had been needing for a long time.  As I smiled to myself, I thought about all of my failings. I thought of all the really stupid things I've done.  Even though, honestly, none of those compare to the deeds of Stacey, they were still stupid and probably hurtful to others too.  I remembered how people treated me at different points in my life and I remembered how God treated me.  It was humans who brought up my failings.  It was God who never brought it up again and who also bestows more blessings on me, regardless.

Since I'm called to be like Yeshua and not like the humans in this world, I did what I thought He might do. I sent things she expressed that she needed.  Baby formula, baby clothes, toiletries. I sent them as anonymously as I could but I knew I couldn't disguise that the items were from me. I did it and then I walked away.  I hoped it would be a blessing and that it would soften her heart a little, even if the softening didn't happen for 10 years.  No matter what, I felt good about it.  All I can do is the right thing.

A few weeks later, I heard a knock at the door.  Since I work from home I am not always able to answer the door, but I try to always answer for UPS.  That particular day I was so engrossed in work that I decided no matter who it was I couldn't answer.  The visitor didn't persist so I knew it wasn't important anyway and if there was a delivery, it would be there waiting for me in a few hours.  Much later in the day I went outside to get the mail and almost tripped over a large box on the front porch.  I figured UPS had indeed delivered a package but when I leaned down to pick it up I realized the box was open.  Inside was the formula, clothes, and toiletries I had ordered and shipped to Stacey.  Things she had begged for from others, things that others wouldn't give her without a price, things she and her baby needed.  Well, I thought.  At least she's sticking to her guns.    It was the only positive thought I had.  Inside the box was a note as well.  The note accused my husband and I of nonsense.  The note called me a b**** no less than four times.  It hurt and made me furious for a while.

This was all months ago.  For your sake, I would like to end this post with something like, And she showed up and said she was sorry and was sooooo thankful for everything.  Or Now we are all reconciled and we're having dinner once a month.  Isn't that what feel good Christian movies teach us about doing the right thing?  You do the right thing and suddenly things fall into place with a glowing light encapsulating everything.  No.  That is not how doing the right thing works; at least not most of the time.  Maybe it has happened that way for you.  If you are going to do the right thing, do it because it's the right thing and not because you expect a positive result.  I didn't expect a positive result but I also truly didn't expect this nasty of a response and that threw me off a little at first.

Since I can't end this with something bright and cheery and miraculous I will just tell you the truth.  The truth is that normally I answer the door when I think it's the UPS guy. I run to accept packages and that day, I couldn't. I couldn't walk from my home office to the front door. I was that busy.  I believe that was God imparting a blessing on me because, had I raced to the door, I would have been face to face with Stacey and that would have created much more stress and drama than I can handle.  Instead, I was given a clear signal from Stacey that I could stop trying.  She would be fine without us.  I also knew God had protected me from that interaction.  I honestly have peace to this day about the offering I tried to give.  All I can do is the right thing and if I do the right thing It Is Well, even if it isn't perfect.  I still have hope that someday, even if years from now, there will be reconciliation or at least a truce and that I will still be giving.  Hot coals and I-Told-You-So dances are easy, but they are not the right thing.