Friday, March 6, 2015

Thick Skin

If you read yesterday's post, you'll have heard all about my saga with Larry. To make things even better, he got so annoyed with me disagreeing with his view on guns and the death penalty that he unfriended me. I tried to talk to him via private message, but he told me he needed to respond later, as he was afraid he would say things "in the flesh" that he would later regret. Sigh.

I will be honest. Sometimes, I am not a very nice person. I wanted to respond with ugliness, with offense, with vengeance. Being rejected is not pleasant, no matter what form it comes in, even if it is taking a beating on Facebook. I'm a fighter. It's in my blood, and my blood was sufficiently heated when I read his responses and witnessed his reaction.

But in the end, I apologized for offending him and told him my greatest hope was that we, as believers, could disagree well. I stopped myself from writing a condemnatory rant on my Facebook page or retaliating in any way. I heard this tiny, quiet voice saying, "Love covers." So I took a deep breath and sat still and let it go.

I  hate that, so often, Christians can not disagree well, either with themselves or with others. I hate how defensiveness can shut down a conversation, cause offense, split up friends and loved ones and even churches.

I remember a couple of weeks ago when my friend Maria suggested growing a thicker skin in regards to Facebook. She then sent me a private message explaining there is a big difference between thick skin and calloused skin. Our bodies are covered in skin, and some areas are thicker than others because these areas are meant to be protective. Calloused skin is another thing entirely, and it's usually unsightly and something we seek to remove. Salons word wide make loads of money because of rough, calloused skin.

I want to have thick skin, but not calloused skin. My tendency is to have paper thin skin, or ugly calloused skin, and nothing in between. That has got to change.

There are more than a handful of people in my life like Larry. I feel like I have to go to great lengths not to offend them. Maybe I am brushing up against their paper thin, or calloused places. Sometimes it is hard to discern which is which. I strive to maintain a gentle strength, which, though it sounds like an oxymoron, is not. I get a little unbalanced from time to time, we all do.

But I am leaning to grow thick, uncalloused skin, to refuse to get offended or angry or wounded or overly sensitive, to remain strong but gentle.

And I am using the cleansing breaths they taught me in Lamaze more now that I ever did during childbirth.

This phase of life has been marked by it's own kind of labor.


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