Saturday, February 03, 2007

conflict (resolution)

Well, I'm not sure, but I think I might need to sign up for anger management classes. Or at least have a Jack Nicholson assigned to me! No, wait, life is already doing that! I think by now the clerks at our local CVS drugstore have put up a photo of me with a circle and a slash through it over the one-hour photo machine...let me explain.

As an artist doing exhibits and competitions, I know that the accepted form of reproduction of artwork is (or has been up until the digital age), slides. They can't be monkeyed with, they are small and easy to view quickly in a carousel, and they are very representative of a person's work, for better or worse. Now there aren't many commercial businesses that sell slide film any more. Slide film is distinctly different from print film, and they are not interchangeable. Well, I went to CVS to pick up my latest batch of developed slides, and come to find someone put my slides through the one-hour photo machine. As ballistic as I could go, I went. The manager was called to the scene. Oh, I had a valid complaint alright. My slides were ruined, I was out the time it took to take them, the time it took to send them out and develop them, which probably wiped out my chances for the big yearly colored pencil competition. BUT, here's the thing-I was partly to blame. The store recently adopted a new policy in which the clerks are to fill out the film packet information. The day I dropped my slides the little girl waiting on me was very harried, so instead of watching her fill out the packet properly, I told her, SLIDES...they are SLIDES....don't forget! and I left without being sure she picked the right packet to mail out.

That was one incident in a day, and there was another. I heard back from the person I've been writing to on a regular basis, responding to something I did that made him extremely agitated. We were both partly to blame, but I realized as I read his letter two things, 1. He really cares about me and the relationship, and 2. he can't stand conflict.

There has to be a balance here. It would have been as wrong for me to walk out of CVS without saying a word as it was to yell, and I did apologize. Similarly, it is ridiculous to expect relationships to be completely smooth sailing. I'm not sure what to do on the second score. I care very much for this person-we ARE great friends, but the relationship is new and untested. How we proceed from here will tell very much what kind of people we are and how important the relationship is.

I also know God brings to the forefront of our lives areas in which we need to work on. This is one for me. To be able to stand up for myself and be honest is a new development in my life, but I can see I need to take it one step further. I need to be secure enough not take on other's people's stuff, but love and understand them all the same. People are human. Someone at CVS made an honest mistake-they weren't out to ruin my competition chances. I made an honest mistake in a relationship, not understanding the motivation behind an action. Was I out to purposely ruin the friendship? Hardly.

I went to Celebrate Recovery that night, my 12 step group, and heard stories all over the room about similar struggles. It's called life, and we accept the Bible as our is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, does not hold a grudge...I'm learning, and continue to accept myself, the things I need in life to become a more Christ-like person, and to give others the patience and the room to do likewise.


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