Friday, February 15, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

If you know what to expect, you don't need to be upset when you get it.

I've been noticing something happening among people at Edgewood. A lot of them are very predictable in the things they do and say.
Like F. He tells the same stories over and over again.
I pretty much have them memorized - line for line.
And so does everyone else. *wink*

If you know F, you just know - within a few minutes of talking to him, he's going to start telling stories about his time in World War II. He'll tell the one about skinny dipping for a bath, the Japanese girl who spoke perfect English, and he'll remind you that in bomb disposal - you can never make a mistake.
Personally, I find his stories charming. But there are those around Edgewood - other residents, mostly - who get tired of hearing the stories. And they complain. They tell other people, "Oh, don't get him started!" And sometimes, they simply get rude in the things they say to and about F. He ALWAYS tells those stories. Why can't he just shut up?!

And those complaints got me to thinking.
Yes, it's true. F does ALWAYS tell those stories. You can count on it. And the way I see it, since we all know he ALWAYS tells those stories, we should expect him to do so. And if we know what to expect, it seems to me we ought to be mature enough able to make a rational decision about how we're going to respond.
For those who enjoy F's stories, the response is easy. Laugh along with him like it's the first time you've heard the story.
But for those who don't, it seems to me there's a choice. 1)Be annoyed, complain, and allow the situation to upset you. OR 2)Recognize this is something he ALWAYS does, realize he isn't even aware he's told you this story a hundred times already, and remind yourself hearing the story again isn't going to seriously harm you in any way.

Oh, I know the complainers have their own memory issues, and that may play into their complaints. But the whole scenario got me thinking about life outside of Edgewood, too. How many times do we face situations with people in which we know exactly what they're going to do or say - we know what to expect? Yet, we allow ourselves to get upset and bent out of shape when they do or say the very thing we expected them to do or say!
For example, I have a certain relative who ALWAYS feels the need to tell me (or anyone with whom she is riding) where to turn, when to put on the turn signal, etc. and it drives me nuts!
But I have realized, since I know she's going to tell me to do what I already know to do...I can just expect it, let it happen, and move on. If we know what to expect, I think we would make much greater use of our time and emotional energy by planning a response which won't involve us getting into a fit. Ya know?

If you know what to expect, you don't need to be upset when you get it.



Leah @ Point Ministries said...

OUCH!!! I am so guilty. My mother sometimes tells me the same thing multiple times and it irritates me. I've gotten to where I say, "You told me that." Not in a rude way, but just to remind her. I need to be more patient with her and your post has given me that reminder. Bless you.

Karen Hossink said...

Leah - Glad I could help. *wink*