So as I travel around my new location and being unable to find a decent radio station to listen to (oh, WCBS-FM and Scott Shannon, how I miss you!), I’ve taken to listening to my iTunes library on my phone while I learn to navigate the lay of the land out here. And today through the randomness of iTunes shuffle, a song I hadn’t listened to in ever so long popped up and its words resonated with me.
Last week I got caught up in some drama that I didn’t create and didn’t want to be party to. The details are unimportant but the stress it caused not only to me but to people I love was almost crippling, both emotionally and even physically. For several long days I felt like I was walking on eggshells and I ultimately came to the conclusion that the mess that had been created had to be ended and I had to end it, consequences be damned. And I did and there were consequences. But I am confident in my belief that I did the right thing for the right reason.
So when I heard the great Sting today singing the words “Takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile. Be yourself, no matter what they say”, it was kind of a gut punch. Confrontation and facing unpleasant situations are not my strong suit. In fact, I have always been a “go along to get along” kind of person. I’ve had relationships of all types with too many people who are too volatile, too always inclined to believe their position is the only position, too quick to criticize, too slow to forgive. And I’m not going to be the person any more who accepts that as normal behavior or stays silent when someone else is behaving badly. I’m too old to accept that a lack of civility or empathy or coming together to find a common solution is normal or right. Not on my watch; not any more.
I did what I truly believed I had to do. I honored the memory of someone I loved and lost and took flack – a lot of it from a few folks – who thought they knew better than me. And maybe they do and maybe their intentions were as pure as mine. It doesn’t really matter in the end. What matters is that I can live with my decision even though it has cost me dearly.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things. I’m not even close to being an expert on most things. But I am an expert on honoring your commitment, on treating others the way you want to be treated, on being civil when you disagree, on loving someone even if you don’t always like them and on walking away when you have no more fight in you to wage a losing battle. I have my parents to thank for that, people who taught me that being honorable is more important than being right and that, ultimately, no matter what someone thinks or says about you, you have only yourself – and your God in heaven one day – to answer to for your behavior, your actions, the choices you make.
So while I may have lost the battle this past week, I was true to myself. And that I can live with.