Friday, March 26, 2010

Lighten up, people!

I watch people. When I was younger, I never spoke. (Yes, those who know me now think I'm lying, but I'm not.) I just listened and watched. I still watch. Lately, I have seen so many unhappy people. I don't know if more people are unhappy or if I just notice it more, but it's sad. 

Yesterday, my Hero and I went to a pizza buffet for lunch. We got there just as they opened but it's a pretty popular buffet so it started filling up pretty fast. An older couple, probably in their mid to late sixties, came in right behind us and sat at a table near us. The entire lunch, the woman did nothing but fuss and fume at the man—over everything. She fussed at what salad items he chose: "I hate when you eat that!" She fussed over how much pizza he put on his plate: "Why did you get three pieces to start with?! What if you can't eat that much?" She even fussed because he bumped the table: "Would you scoot back?! You are jostling me!" They were behind me so I couldn't see his face but I never heard him respond and I think maybe he's so used to the verbal barrage that he ignores it. I hurt for both of them. I hurt for him because he has to endure that, but I hurt for her because somewhere inside she has to be hurting to spew such pain.

I know people close to me that are just as miserable. Usually it is because of a hurt or even a perceived hurt years ago that they have allowed to fester and become bitter and poison. Sometimes it is because they have become habitually contentious. Either way, they are miserable and work to make everyone around them miserable.

My Hero and I have been married for almost 29 years. I can't imagine talking to him like that woman was talking to her husband. (I am not perfect by far. When we were first married I was a hothead, but God used several circumstances to teach me better.) I wondered what it was that made that couple marry in the first place if she can't stand him. Then I realized it's probably not him she can't stand, it's her own hurt. He just bares the brunt of it.

After we left the restaurant, my Hero brought up the subject. He had heard it all, too. We talked about bitter people and those who feel like they have to scrape and scratch to stay on top of the heap. This verse came up:

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." Timothy 6:6

This is a lesson that both of us have been striving to learn. We've undergone a few trials in the past few years and we both found ourselves getting bitter. We realized what was happening and we began to work on forgetting those things that are behind and being content. The pains of trials that are nurtured become bitter and I certainly don't want to be sitting in a pizza restaurant 15 or 20 years from not while another couple listens to my bitterness spew forth all over the love of my life.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her." Proverbs 3:13-18


Keith & Julie Loveless said...

Great post! I was watching the choir in the church we were visiting last Sunday and was thinking much the same thing. It's sad when you see such emptiness and bitterness in a church choir.

What you said about godlines without contentment hit the nail right on the head! God's people have fooled themselves into thinking that they can be godly while never being truly content.

I know I need to be more content!

Judy said...

It's been far too long since I've been by here. I'm glad you dropped by Apronstrings and reminded me how much I had missed your posts. The long sickness and death of my dad threw me for a loop and getting back into the groove has been strange. It's been a different groove.

It's tragic how much time is lost in bitterness and complaining. Those who drown in it rarely realize they are part of the problem...

I loved visiting you and reading your wise insight. I will return much sooner than the time gap between this and my last visit.