Recently, I've been having those thoughts which paint black everyone's attitude toward my actions. Don't they live to smear me? Don't they live to scorn some of my decisions and toss them aside judgmentally and cruelly? I've been the proverbial look-over-shoulder guy. I've been the crab scuttling sideways out to the waves in order to disappear into them away from the feet that wish to stomp.
For instance, I told my bookclub friends (friends that go way back, but don't know what goes on in your life on a daily/weekly/monthly basis) in an e-mail that my grandmother died, my dad had a heart attack, Cody has a chronic cough that might have been c.f. for four weeks, and that I've decided to homeschool. News to them.
All I could think about was one of my 'friends' who in the last six months has sort-of shelved me. We've all felt that. She is a work-identity driven person with hard judgment and a sharp tongue who used to be one of my best friends when I worked and fit into her categories.
When I sent the e-mail out, I had all sorts of dark imaginings that she was laughing at the homeschool part, calling me a zealot, proudly turning to her name-blocked desk in her name-plated office, gathering around her/our friends that she has kept and invited to her home on a regular basis without me.
She hates religion anyway, so I imagined her equating my decision with narrowminded superstition about the world, etc.
I was practically glowering about her for a while. And then ....
I received the sweetest e-mail from her, expressing her sympathy, applauding my decision to homeschool, complimenting my patient nature and my faith.
Of course, I distrusted her sincerity; her exclusion will remain the same.
However, I accept the pleasant surprise of kind words. And, I must admit, the sideways crawl into the depths of the ocean isn't too Christ-like. Therefore, I must walk back toward her with an e-mail thanks and I must open my sooty hands for them to be scrubbed by Jesus again who teaches us how to walk upright with forgiving springs and a lighter load.
Merci for that.