Friday, March 9, 2012

Truth Promise 366: Honesty is Not Everything I Thought It Would Be

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7

On Tuesday morning as I was about to leave for the 4-H stables, my partner mother called to ask me if Miss Annette had called me, because they would not be coming out to the barn with the Princess and me that morning; she did not want us to be waiting on her. I told her that I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to use the new rope halter I had made on Blue to lunge him and that I thought we might try to trade off working with him until he was responding as he should, that is not acting up. She went on to say they would not be coming on Tuesdays from then on and would be helping another mother, who boards her horse there and comes on Monday both in the morning and afternoon, but they would go in the afternoon starting the week after next as they would be taking a week off. (Now to be honest, Miss Annette had mentioned last week that they may not be coming out on Tuesday mornings soon but it was said in a manner that was not definite and I had talked to the mother since then and she did not say anything about there being a change.)

The Princess was very upset that her friends would not be coming anymore and complained about the amount of work she would have to do. She was difficult that morning. I understood her feelings: there would be more work for us with the feeding and cleaning up with just the two of us, but there would be much less stress and work on me with everything that came after, like grooming, lunging, riding, and making sure three to four children and one adult were handling the horses correctly so they would not get hurt.

Now all of Tuesday I felt that I had done this family a disservice and that I needed to apologize to the mother. She is a very nice person and we talk easily on the phone. Had the situation been different, I would enjoy her company very much--at least, that is what I found myself saying in my mind. I decided I would apologize that night after the 4-H meeting, as she said they would be there.

Unfortunately, they did not come so I did not get the opportunity. I did see the the Monday mother and talked to her after the meeting. I said that I had heard that she would have some help now on Mondays and I must have looked a bit confused after she mentioned another woman and her daughter. I then clarified who I meant and then she told me that they had shown up last Monday afternoon and she did not know why they were there, but they just started feeding the horses. This reminded me of the first time they came on Tuesday morning and let the horses in before I had gotten back to the barn; they just seem to take over and know what they were doing. Perhaps Miss Annette had forgotten to tell her they were coming, perhaps she did not know...on that point I have no knowledge of what transpired, but I was again surprised that the mother had not told me they had already been there on Monday afternoon, actually just the day before she called me. I wrote "again" because I want to believe she is being truthful with me, but it seems that she has other priorities.

At this point I had a half smile on my face and now the woman before me looked confused. I just said that she would probably figure it out. This is the same woman who trained me when I started on Wednesdays and whose daughter we have paid to give the Princess riding lessons when we can afford them, so we have a little rapport. She asked what was up and I simply told her that if I explain and then she works with this family that she will probably think what was wrong with me as they do just fine, but I had worked with them for about six weeks and they have been taking lessons in the past two weeks with the 4-H leader's adult son, who has been riding since he was four and gives excellent lessons. However, I did tell her that they had the barn chores down but the mother can talk like she is more knowledgeable and experienced than she is with handling the horses themselves. She thanked me for the "heads up."

Tuesday night, a friend during a Skype talk made the distinction between a working relationship and a friendship, and I thought about how it was neither because I still felt I could not trust what she tells me. My friend also said something about how interesting my year of being truthful was turning out to be--that had to be a little tap on the shoulder from God. Can you believe that I almost forgot my truth promise? You see, it is very easy to be truthful, or at least convince myself I am being truthful, when when things are going smoothly, but add a bit of difficulty with another person, who is not really being truthful, and then I realized what truthfulness really is. Truthfulness involves a very familiar formula: reflection-conviction-repentance-change.

I have been truthful on my blog, because it was easy, even therapeutic, to complain here in my little Internet sanctuary, but that was not pleasing my Lord. I felt very strong urgings to apologize to the woman. Part of me did not want to do it, but another part of me wanted to do it as soon as possible. If you have ever felt a prodding from the Lord to do something you do not really want to do, but you also knew it would be better for you to do it, then you know just what I was feeling.

I called the mother Wednesday morning and apologized for being resentful toward her. I explained that from talking to her on the phone that first time that I thought she was going to be teaching me new things and I was disappointed when I began to realize that would not be the case. She told me that she had also said that she had not been around horses at all during her adult life and I confirmed that she had said that but that she just seemed to be so organized and had shared such definite ideas about how she wanted to go about training her children with the horses that I had allowed myself to develop this expectation, which was unfair to her because she would have been unable to fulfill it. I also confessed that expectations always get me into trouble with people that is why I try to have high expectation on myself and low expectations on everyone else, but every now and then I let one slip by.

Now there is one thing that I failed to mention on my blog, I think, and that is how, during our first phone conversation, that the mother told me all her plans and said that if I wanted my daughter to learn along with them, she would be glad to include her...that is one of the reasons that I felt she was far more experienced than I was. I would not bother to mention it now, except that it has some significance with how our conversation ended. She was talking about the training she had planned for her children after they will start leasing the horse at the other barn later this month. She had the first twelve lessons completely planned out. She was very enthusiastic about a couple of books she was using as a reference. She also talked about the exercises they would be doing. For instance, how they be going from sitting to standing in the saddle to help them with balance and in preparation for specific exercises to prepare for riding in a trot. She offered to share her lesson plans with me if I would be interested for the Princess....

"That would be so nice. Thank you." I said without hesitation, but also quite thankful I was on the phone at that moment, because I was thinking: Here she goes again! But, now I am no longer resentful, just amused by her in a more loving way.

When I apologize, I do not expect an apology in return, or forgiveness, or to be liked more (or at all). I cannot say I even expect to feel peace, although that did happen this time. Most of all, I do not expect the other person to change, though I think I would rarely be disappointed should "no change" be my expectation.

I have learned something, with God's guidance, about being truthful. Most people, perhaps myself included, tend to think being truthful is about confronting other people and it may be at times, but I am beginning to understand that being truthful is mostly about confronting myself. It is humility along with reflection-conviction-repentance-change.

I may have been right to think and feel what I did, but I have learned that truthfulness is not about being right--it is about getting right with God.


~ My Lord, thank you for reminding me that being truthful is all about seeking to please You. ~

4 comments:

  1. Oh. My. You are brave. I knew this one wasn't for me ~ 'cause I always knew it wasn't about *the other* & I don't feel I can take anything else on just now. You are reading & blogging again so may I take it that things are more settled again?

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    1. Settled? Hmm...truthfully? Probably not.

      I have to pick up leftovers from one consignment sale this weekend and another consignment sale for which to prepare also this weekend. Next weekend there is the 4-H Spring Fling and I will be face painting all day, most likely. Then I have to prepare gardens.

      Now that I think about it, perhaps my whole life is about being unsettled. ;)

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  2. Wow. It sounds like you had some rough roads to travel to reach that lesson! I hope things go smoother for you now.

    Peace and Laughter!

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    1. I am not expecting smoother (just so I will not be disappointed), perhaps I am even expecting it to get worse, but that will be up my Lord. I trust Him to provide what I need.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.