If you've been around reading my blog for awhile, then it is no secret that I struggle to get along with some people in our team. One person, mostly. In fact, I wonder at times if God derives some odd delight in putting incompatible people together on teams? (Just kidding..!)
It has made life difficult. It would be difficult in the best of situations, but in times of trouble, it becomes more difficult.
It's been difficult as we struggled through troubles in our marriage.
It's been difficult as we've struggled through relocations and threats of relocations.
It's been difficult as we faced a crisis in our work involving our family.
I wrestle with my attitude and knowing how to respond at times. I do believe this person loves God and has a heart to do right. It seems, though, that he lacks some skills or an ability to see, perhaps intuition. I think the only thing worse than people who have problems seeing is people who have problems seeing who think they don't.
I lived once in a place where horse carts were a common means of transportation. To prevent the horses from spooking in the busy city traffic, they wore blinders on the sides of their eyes. This allowed them very good vision in the direction they were going, but a total lack of peripheral vision.
This person is a lot like that. What he is good at and what he sees, he does with the utmost attention to detail and insight. It is just where he does not see that he is clumsy.
I live in this man's peripheral vision - not in the direction he is going, but attached, along the side of. As a result, I get banged around and stepped on often enough.
It doesn't really matter how much a horse intended or didn't intend to step on your foot - it still hurts. Intended or not, the pain that has been caused is very real. And it has gone on for years, over and over and over.
There have been some things that were careless. There have been some things that were insensitive. Those are difficult, but perhaps if it had stopped there, I would be managing. But there have been some things that are incomprehensible. Things said about me that have attacked publicly my character, sanity, and honesty. Those are the most hurtful.
I've cried this through often enough with God, asking for a solution, a resolution, a transfer from out from under this person, but God has been silent. I really do seek to live at peace, to go on despite it, to show love, to serve, and for the most part, I do well enough... but it is my heart that is harder to manage. The hurt. The pain. The constantness of it. The resentment. The very fact that these wrongs go on, year after year, unsettled, open, wounds.
How do you offer forgiveness that is never asked for? Even harder, when what was done and said is justified? When the public accusation of my character remains without retraction, even though time has proved that it was wrong? I don't really have the answers to these questions.
It has been a topic that I bring up again and again with God. Asking for answers here. Wrestling with the issues of obedience, respect, love, unity, hurt, boundaries, honor, grace, and forgiveness.
Just when I think I've got it settled, he comes by again. (I guess I can be thankful that he does not live here with our smaller team, but only visits several times a year.) Then out pours the emotions again. And I am back to looking up desperately to the God that placed this man in our lives over us and asking for strength, wisdom, and grace. And quietly, quietly begging my Father to come to my defense, to lift my head, to be my glory in all that has been hurled against me. Asking for strength to again show love and service. For comfort for the tears in the night, the pain of arrow wounds from my own side.
This fall, he came by again... and God had some new lessons for me to learn.