December 21, 2012

Pardon me ?!?

I spent my 5th grade lunch hours sitting at a table in a primary/grade one classroom. I was a lunch helper. I loved it! I was able to spend time with kids, I got to zip zippers and button buttons, I helped kids count by twos and tie their shoes, but there was one thing I didn't like: the forced apology. I still remember standing my the coat rack and watching the teacher force a child to apologize when he clearly didn't do what he was accused of doing, and he didn't even understand why he had to apologize. Eleven years later, and I am in the tiny shoes of that child, only there is no teacher forcing me to apologize.

Awhile ago I had this question asked to me, but to this day I haven't been able to come up with a solid answer. Should you apologize when a) you are not truly sorry, and b) when you believe with all your heart that you did nothing wrong?

Well I wrestled with this for a long time. At first I thought "of course! always apologize for everything!" This solution is a bit of a lie, and is selfish in a way, because it is only used to smooth over a conflict and to make life easier.
Then I thought about apologizing for the effect the incident had on the person, but that seems like a cop out, and insincere, even if you are sorry for the trouble their misunderstanding caused them.
Then there is the option to discuss the incident with the person, and not apologize, but if the other person is really seeking an apology this may not be the greatest option.

So sadly, there is no where in the bible that says " thou shalt do this if one is expected to apologize but is not in the wrong," there is however, a verse in the Psalms where David talks about having to "give back" something to someone that wasn't theirs in the beginning. It reads, "I am forced to pay back what I did not steal." Psalm 69:4

What would happen if the situation was reversed? How would I want to be treated? Would I want a heartless apology? I think I would want a conversation with the person to see why they did what they did and to have a chance to explain why I thought it was wring and how I was hurt. I would want to set some guidelines for the future so that a repeat would be less likely to happen. This being said, I would expect me to be the one to initiate the conversation, as the other person may not even realize I'm hurt. I wouldn't sit around being bitter and wait for an apology, I would be active and allow a lot of communication.

I don't want to lie, but I don't want to ignore my instinct to resolve conflict. I want to grow through this situation, and I want the other party to as well. So I ask you the question what would you do? and more importantly, what would Jesus want me to do?

December 17, 2012

The Mas Part of Christmas

Yesterday my family celebrated Christmas, you know, the gift giving, turkey eating, family visiting events. I woke up at 8:30, (I'm ALWAYS the last one to wake up on Christmas morning..sometimes mom has to come and wake me up). I rushed out and saw a stocking, but I was more excited to know it was time for mom to open her gift. I opened my stocking and unwrapped every little gift inside. To give a brief summary...I am currently wearing a lego watch, rolling some dice, writing notes on a cupcake, eating some ginger cookies, peeling a clementine, and eyeing some chocolate, and I apparently smell like katy Perry. Mom's main gift was a published copy of the first volume of my blog. It's exactly what she wanted, and I think she was quite surprised. I then went to church, and received MANY hugs. I think I like that place a little more each time I go. I then had to do errands, because stores were open on our Christmas day, and then I went to spend some time with my grandparents. (A typical Christmas would involve me having breakfast and opening gifts, and eating dinner at their house). I encouraged them to open the gifts I had made them. Interestingly enough, I didn't plan it this way, but almost every gift I gave this year was homemade. My second cousins also surprised me with a visit at church, now I won't feel disappointed missing the family reunion this year.

I think this was one of my favourite Christmases. This year I made Christmas as long as advent. This year, I encouraged my friends to open their gifts as soon as I gave them the gifts. This year I was able to have 15 mini Christmases. This year I was able to get the traditional aspects out of the way, so that I could focus on the reason for the season for the week leading up to Christmas. This year was the most calm Christmas, and the least materialistic Christmas I've lived through. This year everyday of December has been Christmas. This year Christmas was celebrated in part every single day of advent, so there will not be the Christmas crash on December 26th. There won't be the feeling of "that's it? all that for one day?" This year's gifts were exchanged and opened at the same time to celebrate joy and thankfulness together. This year was a humble beginning to what I hope is a tradition of Christmas celebrations for the years to come.

Now that the "mas" is done, massive amount of food, gifts, and decorations, we can celebrate the "Christ" part of Christmas. 

So if Christmas was yesterday, and seeing as my birthday is two days after Christmas....I guess that means my birthday is tomorrow! I sure hope mom has a birthday pie nearby.

December 11, 2012

Wont Remembrall

As the final fall semester of my undergrad degree comes to a close, I can't help but tug on memories. They (whoever they are) say that you only remember 10% of what you are taught in university. I think I'll have to agree, though I'd like to add that perhaps we remember 100% of what we learn.

I think there's something else that I'll remember more. I'll remember the relationships. I'll remember the cafeteria worker who would save ice cream for me on Sundae Sundays when my choir practice would run late and the ice cream would be gone. 

I'll remember Jeremy and Robin, two Tim Hortons workers who always go the extra mile for students. Whether helping them out with a penny or two, or drawing smilie faces on the lids when I had a bad day.

I'll remember the professor that gave me an extension on a project the one time I ever asked for one in university. I asked for three days and she gave me a week.

I'll remember the German baker at the market whose face would always light up when he saw me, and who would give me free rolls. 

I'll remember older Australian man that would roll his eyes and wink at me in Death and Dying class when a particularly  obnoxious engaged student would speak out several times per class.

I'll remember the prof I had in second year who asked me every following spring semester if I was graduating that year. This year I'll be able to say yes :)

I'll remember the nice second year boy that would smile at me in my math class in fourth year, and who wished me good luck right before the exam. 

I'll remember the greeter at my church, and how she made a point to hug me every single time I walked through the door. 

It is often said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." I think this is very true. The relationships that I've mentioned above all occurred while I was busy writing essays, running to class, dashing into church, taking notes in class, and being herded through the Farmer's Market. This is one more reminder in my life that if I want to enjoy life to its full I think I have to slow down, even if it's just a little bit. 
Jeremy put a smile both on my drink and my face :)

December 6, 2012

Rice Krispie Conflict

This morning was a typical morning. I ate Rice Krispies out of my yellow bowl, and I drank juice out of my purple, Dora cup. I had my breakfast in my bedroom, because it's nice and warm in my room, and because I like to do my morning devotions during breakfast. What wasn't so typical, however, was the fact that I decided to leave my dishes in my room. I didn't want to walk all the way downstairs and wash them.

The past weekend was also pretty typical. Homework was done, room was cleaned, laundry was done, adventures were had, and tea was consumed. There was something, however, that wasn't quite typical. There was a bit of conflict during my Sunday, and like my cereal bowl, I decided to deal with it later. 

Well, as I stand here at the kitchen sink scrubbing and scrubbing out the hardened Rice Krispies, and the sticky juice in my cup, I'm realizing that I probably should have dealt with the dishes when the mess was fresh. Like scrubbing hardened cereal from a bowl, conflict resolution that is long overdue is lacking in the fun department. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a whole lot easier to clean things up sooner, rather than later. You don't want your left over cereal to sit, build up and harden, so why do that with frustration? Nothing good can come of it. You know what does come of it? Bitterness, resentment, and miscommunication.

I should also note that cleaning up messes in the later is better than never. If you do have a conflict that needs to be resolved, even if it's from years ago, you should probably go take care of that now. I'll wait, you can read the rest of this later. 
Oh good, you're back!
This week, and many weeks to come, I will try my best to clean up my messes as soon as they happen, that way maybe I won't be spending my Thursday evenings leaning over a skink, scrubbing Rice Krispies out of my favourite, yellow cereal bowl.