In my last post I said I was going to get down to the business of writing my spiritual articles to put on this blog and that I was not going to allow life, and all that it throws at me, to stop me from doing it.
Well, I am happy to report that I have been working on the articles. I am not so happy to report that I am nowhere near ready to put any of it on here. I’m just not getting it down as fast as I would like to because life has in fact, in spite of my denial, interfered with my ability and willingness to get the work done. But, I will not be discouraged. As I said before, I am taking steps, and that is better than sitting at a stand still. We will leave it at that for now.
What I want to talk about in this post is something I’ve been noticing and thinking about for some time now. It’s a bit of a personal issue. You see, I fear that I am turning into “That” crabby old lady. You know the one I mean…we all know at least one. That older person who looks and acts grumpy all the time and never seems to have anything good to say if they say anything at all.
In my work as a nurse I had run into more than a few of these. Some were just nasty and constantly negative. They were obviously bitter and angry at the world for whatever reason and they wanted everyone to know it and suffer along with them. I am not talking about those people. I haven’t turned into that and I hope I never do.
What I am talking about are the people who appear crabby because they stick to themselves. They will offer a small smile if you make eye contact with them, but nothing else. They seem to do everything they can to avoid initiating conversation. If you initiate it instead, they kindly give short answers in reply and retreat back into their silence, seemingly uninterested in what is going on or being said around them. They aren’t really crappy I guess. They just come across that way by their standoff-ish kind of behavior. That is the kind of person I am talking about. That is what I have become.
I have had a rough 48 years of life. This is not a request for pity. We all suffer to some extent and many have suffered far more than I have. My point is that my hard experiences have been many. But I have to say that there is a positive side to all that suffering. I have become much more serious and mature…more focused on the big picture…as a result of all I have been through.
What have a learned? For a few examples: I’m no longer interested in the latest gossip. I don’t care what my neighbor is doing, what my relatives are doing, or what the ding-dong celebrity of the hour is doing. I’m not interested in fashion or fads. I don’t want to waste my limited time, as well as my very limited physical and mental energy, fussing about politics or religion. I don’t want to hear people complaining about problems they have caused themselves, and need to fix themselves but clearly have no intention of doing. I’m just not interested.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been guilty of doing all of this in the past. I’ve wasted so much time and energy worrying about things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I’ve spent more time and energy than I had to spare trying to fix problems that were not mine to fix, only to have the person I was helping continue with their problem causing behavior or, worse, become angry with me for trying to help to begin with. I’ve spent hours discussing politics and religion with people after they have ask me a question that required a lot of time to thoroughly discuss, only to have them walk away with the same opinion as they had when we started. (Some of these religious discussions went on for days via email and included me sending article upon article …with many items highlighted, references provided and explanatory comments made… to the person so they could study it. All so, in the end. they could still have the same opinion/question they started with!).
All of these experiences have taught me a lot of things over the years.
1) I learned that society is fickle. What/Who is important to them today will be cast aside tomorrow.
2) I learned that those who gossip to you will gossip about you.
3) I’ve learned that people need to handle their own business, but, since many of them are generally lazy and/or don’t want to suffer the consequences of their behavior, they will try to get you to do/fix it for them.
4) I’ve learned not to do #3 because: You can’t fix other people’s problems and still have them learn the lessons. You can’t do other people’s studying and still have them learn the material. People have to do things for themselves if they are to learn and grow.
5) I’ve learned that life is short. If you waste your time on nonsense, or doing for others what they need to do for themselves, you will not have enough time or energy to do what you need to do in your life.
As a result of these learned lessons, I have adopted what appears to be “the crabby old lady” life. I largely stay to myself, doing what I need to do and like to do. I seldom initiate conversation with people I don’t know. I avoid people I know are whiners and users. I don’t offer opinions unless asked (most of the time. I’m still not perfect) and even then, I give short answers and then direct the person to where they can find out more for themselves. I don’t try to fix other people’s problems. In summary, I guess you would simply call this:minding my own business.
Am I angry? Bitter? Crabby? No (though I can get fired up when I sense that someone is being lazy/dishonest and trying to use me to do what they should be doing for themselves). I’ve just learned what ways are best to deal with the issues I have had to deal with in my life. I prefer the peace and quiet of minding my own business while trusting that God is the one who is ultimately in control of everyone and everything. I now accept that most things are not as important as society would have you believe they are and it is not my job to fix everything and everyone.
So, what about all those “crabby old ladies” I’ve met in the past?
You’ve heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, this is a perfect example of that. I thought these women were angry, bitter, standoff-sh and crabby. I now understand that they were really kind, wise people who had learned some important lessons in life and had adjusted their behavior accordingly. They had an understanding that gave them a disinterest in the inane. They no longer felt compelled to participate in the world’s petty nonsense or to try to do things for others that they should be doing for themselves. They were content to live quietly and walk humbly with their God. If others see them as crabby old ladies because of that, so be it. If they see me as one, that’s okay too. After all the hard lessons I have had to learn to get here, I’m just happy to count myself among them.
©God’s School of Life (Marcy Lapinsky) All rights reserved. (Photo credits as written)