Petty squables and prejudices

Are we petty far beyond what we see or understand?

I ask this question on the heels of some events this weekend.  I had a conflict with my wife over a renovation we are doing.  Not atypical for a couple I am sure.  But a comment she made inordinately got under my skin and I had a hard, hard time shaking my miffed state. I fell silent and moody for a time, yet had a full realization inside that I was being wrong for reacting so strongly.  I knew, somehow, I was making a tempest in a tea pot and was disappointed in my own weakness.  More on this in a moment.

The second situation of this type was when I drove my son to his soccer game the next day.  Just me and him.  It is one of my favourite events of the week.  As we pulled into the parking lot of the field, I said quietly to myself, “Please … don’t let me see ‘Ugly’ here”.  “Ugly”, or “The Gargoyle”, are two of my more polite names for my kids’ step-dad.  As you can see, I still have some maturing and recovering to do in this area.  Progress, not perfection.

Ugly is universally observed to be an ass-kisser who, appears to put more time and focus into my kids than his own.  Why? Seemingly to suck up to my ex.  Ugly and I have some deep unresolved issues from years ago that have never been rectified.  We have not spoken in nearly 10 years.  Everyone, including people who would side with my ex, such as her own family, agree that Ugly owes me an apology for his behaviour years ago and continued behaviour.  In spite of the traces of bitterness I expressed in the last couple paragraphs, this is indeed the new and improved version from where I was at years ago.

Glad to report, Ugly was not in attendance that day which left me free to enjoy the game without his annoying and distracting presence.  My ex was indeed there which, although we have little to talk about, we have made great improvements and can be completely congenial.  So there we sat at our respective but distant parts of the park adoring and cheering on our son as he played skillfully. 

I wonder if God looks down on the petty squabble I had with my wife over the renovation and the under-my-skin trace of resentment toward Ugly and laughs?  No different than when I hear my kids arguing over how many dishes each will put away when they are sharing the after-dinner-chore.  Or who got the bigger slice of pizza or strawberry-rhubarb pie?

How much impact on the world, humanity, or any of my kids as individuals does it really have if one puts away 8 dishes and the other puts away 7?  Or if one slice of pizza is 3″ while the other is 3 1/8″?

Even wrongs such as betrayal?  When God looks down on humanity throughout history and sees the atrocities of war and murder, does he lovingly laugh at grudges over renovation timelines and parents at opposite ends of the soccer field?  Not that he doesn’t care, but more perhaps that he knows that he has such better things for us.  The least of which is not Grace, that when applied properly, can resolve centuries of wrongs and pains.

Are we, in our comfortable western societies, particularly those of us who are employed, fed, clothed, and have medical care, not acting like a bunch of teens who hyperfocus on who put away 7 dishes versus 8 or got ‘ripped off’ of 1/8″ of pizza?

Glad to say that when the light went on for me yesterday about my attitude about the renovation, I quickly put it aside, hugged my wife, told her how I was feeling and that I was wrong for being petty, and we agreed to put the matter aside.

In addition, my ex and I  had a brief but polite exchange at the end of the game as we went our separate ways and my son and I had our traditional post-game lunch and game recap.

I hope to make continued improvements in my attitude toward my kids’ step-father.  The wrongs are real, like the extra dish is real, but really, in the scheme of things, how much energy is it worth?

Ciao.

Chaz

 

 

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About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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9 Responses to Petty squables and prejudices

  1. Heidi says:

    I applaud your humility (Is that an oxymoron?) Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing some of your struggles with resentments. It seems the topic everywhere I turn. Is God telling me something, too? Probably. Well…bring it on!

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Heidi… and keep in mind that humility isn’t worth anything unless people admire you for it… kidding of course.

      I believe resentments are huge because their pervasiveness is enabled by their acceptance by society at large… they are, in my experience, a societal vice. In addition, they are sneaky little buggers that are mothered and nurtured by that great “Mother of All Messed Up Thinking”…. Self Pity!

      It will be a long time before any of us are rid of all of our resentments and self pity because, like weeds, they seem to grow on their own. And even when we uproot them all, they find ways to re-seed themselves.

      And yes, God is probably trying to get ahold of you. I find in my life is there is a repeated message put in front of me, and I treat it as if God is trying to tell me something and act on it accordingly, invariably, I discover that God was indeed trying to tell me something of great value to me. And if I follow through with addressing the matter, some level of awakening and improvement happen…. every time.

      So go forth!…. and more will be revealed. It is an exciting journey.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  2. Last week on Oprah’s Life Class, she spoke about letting go of the past. We are not who we were, or what we did. We are who we are in the present moment. We might not get along with family, if but for the kids … I’ve learned in ten years of sobriety, that I have to let people be who they are. (Another Oprah thought – When people show you who they are the first time, Believe them.) And it seems Ugly has shown you who he is and the choice here is to recognize it, and if he makes you uncomfortable, then don’t allow him into your space. Mentally or emotionally.

    We are responsible for who and what energy we bring to ourselves. You may not see eye to eye with him, and that’s ok. You know who he is. Avoid him if necessary, or soberly allow him to be who he is and rise above his assholeness. Be the better man. I think that’s the take away. Seeing in others what we dislike helps us become better men.

    The longer I stay sober and work on myself, I learn that petty shit is useless energy wasted. We are going to have these moments of WTF! and that’s ok too, because it shows we are human. That’s why we have steps. Maybe you need to work a 4th on these people. Then let it go.

    If Ugly owes you an apology that may never come, then why are you holding on to the hope of getting one? (Expectations like resentments are dangerous). You have wisdom in that you see the behavior around you and you name it quite well. What does that tell you about them and yourself?

    The goal here is to raise your children well. Be at peace with the people in your life, even if you don’t fancy them. Be kind to your ex and your wife. Sometimes “YES DEAR” is necessary. Don’t let this family anger and resentment perpetuate into your children’s lives. That would be detrimental to their lives and not fair to them to put it on them.

    We don’t have to like everybody we meet or know. And that is fact. We are stuck with family and we have to find the route of least resistance. You know who they are, be who you are, and rise above them and be the better man.

    End of sermon…

    Jeremy

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Jeremy… as always…

      You are correct in pointing out that I have some un-health in my outlook toward Ugly still. Evident in my chosen nickname for him, as accurately descripitive as it may be.

      I have included him and my ex in my step 4s. Progress has been made but clearly there is room to grow. I had at one point threatened to harm him and resovled to myself that if he were in sprinting distance, he was fair game for an ass-whoopin.

      Issues of the past are largely closed out. Only a few seem to malinger. Issues of the present, however, continue to surface and sting. He continues to be out of line and interfere with my role as my own kids father. Now this is no more wrong than anything else any of us do… it is just that I am the one who feels the pain … and this current pain unfortunately keeps some of the old issues alive… even if only barely.

      I do not anticipate or expect an apology from him. It is simply that others tell me he owes me one… which is an unfortunate truth that my hurt side hooks onto and goes along with. But in reality, it is not in the least bit likely to happen and I have let that go in terms of consciously expecting it. I agree with your advice that an expectation is akin to a resentment and equally toxic.

      The journey continues and at this stage, the best I can do with respect to him is deem him a benign entity. For now, he is furniture. He’s there but I can simply pass him by and ignore him and the feelings that well up in me. This is my way of not allowing him into my mental or emotional space as you suggest. God will have to show me the next step. I truly believe that God sees this person for whom I have a significant distaste as one of his children. Flawed but loved. I accept that. He deserves the same grace I have been given.

      For now, I vent here and with others I lean on. I keep it out of the arena of my kids and my new marriage.

      All this, I hope, is good comedy script for God. I am sure, one day, more will be revealed and in a new enlightenment, I may even laugh as I do at some of the issues I have made more progress with.

      Thansk again for stopping by and adding to the dialogues.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  3. Actually it was the esteemed Maya Angelou who said … “When people show you who they are the first time believe them.” and that goes for everyone in your life.

    J.

  4. Diane Greene says:

    I love this post Chaz!! Once again, very enlightening!

    Diane
    Todays Modern Family

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Diane! Been a while! Will pop by and catch up sometime soon.

      Thanks for popping in and commenting. Live continues to move forward. It is amazing and I love how it unfolds. Even the painful and awkward stuff is good because it is there for a purpose.

      Ciao.

      chaz

  5. darla says:

    been there and know an ugly myself…lol great post, i am sure God throws his holy head back at times and laughs, knowing how it all comes out, and while i am just throwing a tantrum..glad to have found your blog (through Michelle at Consider Jesus)

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Darla… thanks for popping by and adding to the dialogue. Yes, I bet we all have an Ugly in our lives. Our challenge is to use their presence to become someone better than we were yesterday. To rise above our pain and distaste for a person and deal with the reasons behind our distaste… which are likely to be, at least in part, partially due to our own weaknesses.

      Thanks again for popping in.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

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