Growing up, my dad always instilled in me a strong sense of right and wrong. You often hear of people who see things Black and White, and that was my dad. On occasion, this lead to an altercation or two, especially if someone treated his daughters 'wrong'. Scary at times, but I always felt protected, and that he would always look out for us and defend out honor. If someone treated us in a way that could fall into the 'wrong' category, he let them know.
Through the years, I found myself doing the same,especially in my late teens, and early 20's, pre kids. If I felt I was wronged, you better believe I let the person who wronged me know they screwed up and how I felt about it. As the years continued to go by, and especially after meeting my hubby, it is something I have worked hard on. After all, it is hardly a Christian way to go about living life. We are supposed to cover things over w/love, right? Not jump on opportunities to put others in their place, and let them know we don't appreciate the way we are being treated. Mildness, meekness, humility.....not compatible with looking for a confrontation when wronged.
There was an occasion when Brian and I were newly dating when we were at the 12am opening of a moving. There was a group of us, and my job was saving a row of seats for us. I had my row which was up against a wall at one end, and i was blocking the other end. Well, a man came up and informed me he would be sitting there. I said no you wont be, these are saved. About then, Brian walked up, just as the man shoved me to the side, walked into the row and sat down. I was shocked, and looked at Brian like "what are you going to do?". And my mild, Christ like boyfriend says "its ok, we'll find other seats." Then I was just mad, because he did nothing to defend my honor, or let the guy know what a jerk he was. My dad would have dragged the man outside and had a "talk" with him, which is what I was expecting and wanting Brian to do. Of course I got over it and came to appreciate Brian's mild manner as refreshing.
Don't' get me wrong....there are situations that call for outspokenness, but really, they should be few, and far between. I seem to find myself in one of these every few years. I will probably deal with suppressing that rage that wells up when myself or a member of my family is wronged until the new system, it's in my DNA after all. But continuing to put on the new personality requires I make every attempt possible to keep myself and my response to things in check, and most times I am able to do that.
Bearing that background in mind, Friday night at Safeway put all of my restraint to the test! We do part of our grocery shopping at the Safeway on Bancroft. It is usually understaffed with long lines, but it's close to home and has a Starbucks, so that's where we go. Well, lines were super long. We were about 4 back, with 3 or 4 carts lined up down the isle behind us. Directly behind us was a short, heavyset, 60ish woman. She had glassed perched on the end of her nose which she was glaring out over the top of. She was cramming her cart right up against us, and inching forward next to our cart. I had my face in a magazine, oblivious to what was happening, but evidently she had repeatedly ran into Emma with her cart. All of a sudden Brian turns around to her and says that she needs to move back. She mumbles something, and Brian informs her that she's repeatedly ran into his daughter and she needs to move back. By now the magazine was stuffed back on the rack and she has my full attention. She says to Brian "Well, I don't think I hurt her!" Brian informs her that's not the point and turns back around. Bring on the rage of a mother bear! So I ask her " So you are saying that its ok to repeatedly hit someone's child as long as you don't hurt them?"...and not very quietly at this point. She is looking at me with the condescending smirk and says "Well...." and I say "Well, nothing! That's exactly what you said!" Seeing that she hasn't moved an inch back, I say "Here's what were going to do. I'm moving your cart over" which I did, and stood directly in front of her, creating a buffer between her and Emma. I then say "Ok, now...if you hit me, your going to have an even bigger issue on your hands." She says "Oh really?" and I say "Yes, really!" She then calls me an....well, a word that has 'hole' in it and we exchange words about her language in front of three little kids.
Needless to say, we had the attention of the whole line, and I had no idea what I would do if she did decide to hit me and see what happened. Thank goodness she didn't.
But man, I hate that feeling!! The rage that was set off by the combination of 3 things. #1. Someone hurting my child with no regret or apology. #2. Something making my husband mad (he never gets mad or upset, and when he does its always valid) 3. The generation that think they are old enough that they deserve, w/o earning it, respect no matter what their actions, and how dare anyone question them or even worse, try to correct them. That is the one combination that no matter how hard I work on showing love and being Christ like, it never fails to set off the rage! It may seem odd that those 3 things would combined and confront me repeatedly in life, but believe it or not, situations of those 3 things present themselves every few years, almost predictably.
I had fear all morning in service Saturday that I would come across this women in service! What an awful witness that would have been! Not to mention how freaked out the kids were after we exited the store. Emma kept asking what I would have done to her if she hit me, she was sure we were going to get into a fist fight. I remember the fear I would have at times watching my dad when he would be outraged with someone, and of course I felt awful. But, we used it as an opportunity to explain to her that there is a time and place to stand up for yourself, and that it's never ok for someone to think they have the right to hurt you, whether that be emotionally or physically. We also explained about store managers, calling the police, and what assault is. : )