Are there people in the world who are just perpetually aggrieved? Who wake up in the morning, and start chanting, “that’s rude and hurtful!”, like a morning’s hymn?
That’s rude and hurtful
Like the first eyebrows
raised at my choice…
If my email is any indicator, I think there probably are. I imagine these folks go to the coffee shop and when they are greeted with “Good morning,” respond, “it’s not a good morning for me! I have to go to the dentist and I have traumatic memories of the dentist and your insensitivity to my plight is rude and hurtful…”
Then they keep their appointment and the dentist says “you need to be more regular in your flossing,” and these folks say, “are you living my life? Do you have any sensitivity as to how hard my life is, and how busy and challenged I am, every day? And you bother me with flossing? That’s rude and hurtful.”
Then they go to work and a co-worker walks by with a wonderful-smelling dark roast and they pipe up, “I have a mouth full of novocain and can’t enjoy coffee right now but you’re in my face with that stuff, with no regard for others, and that’s rude and hurtful.”
Then they go home and the dog greets them with a jiggy dance suggesting an immediate need to be walked, and the person says, “you, you, you is that all you can think of? I had a hard day and your needing to pee when I haven’t even put down my bag is rude and hurtful.”
Then they they turn on TV and Alex Trebek is looking sorely disappointed in his contestants, who didn’t know the answer to a question about Guys and Dolls and the person says, “you’re microaggressing against people who are unfamiliar with showtunes and also perpetuating gender slang against women, which is disgusting and rude and hurtful.”
And then they turn on Game of Thrones and have multiple emotional setbacks at all the rude and hurtful they’re watching on purpose; so they go on twitter and complain about it. And someone tweets back, “so don’t watch it.”
And they tweet, “my feelings matter; this is important; you are rude and hurtful. You are blocked.”
And this feels very empowering to them.
Then they go to bed, and from a distance, an owl hoots into the night. A rude, hurtful owl who doesn’t understand that they need to rise in a few hours and begin to feel put-upon and demeaned by everyone who is not exactly like them in thought, political expression, and emotional investment, and a whole world that simply doesn’t understand who these people are, and how urgently they matter, because everyone is special, especially them, because they are never rude and hurtful to anyone.
I get called “rude and hurtful” all the time by people who really don’t know me well, at all.
People who do know me well will sometimes call me much worse.
But I never intend to be rude or hurtful. I think most people don’t intend to be, either. I wonder if we can become as good as the Catholic Church is about weighing someone’s intention before we send them notes consigning them to hell, labeling them and their offspring as a blight upon the earth, and otherwise making sure that they hear, all day, every day, how terribly rude and terribly hurtful they are for expressing a thought that is found to be jarring, in a world where — apparently — any thinking at all threatens someone, somewhere, and so must be stopped.
I’d like to teach the world to breathe deeply. Breathe in; hold it for 3…2…1, and blow it out and away. It’s really not such a bad old world, after all. And all the people in it aren’t horrible, either. We just need more of Christ Jesus; to know him, to seek him; to walk with him; to feed on him, to keep our eyes on him.