…Only Half of What You Hear

There’s a nefarious rumor being spread about me.  Some devious people are spreading the unfounded assertion that I am a nice guy.  I feel it is incumbent upon me to disillusion any of you who may share that sentiment.  May I suggest that you have a discussion with the package carrier’s representative with whom I had a conversation earlier today?  Perhaps my son, or my daughter?  How about the postman?  The postman?  Really?  I can hear the jokes already.  Of all people to pick a fight with, a postal worker?  I can assure you, it wasn’t amusing at all to me then.  It still isn’t.

While I know there’s no sense in “digging up bones”, there was that one day about nine years ago…Yes, I understand it’s been forgiven, both by the injured party and by the God of all grace, but there is a lesson to be gained, so let the exhumation begin.

The postal worker had been delivering mail to the music store for many years, with no problems.  But sometime in there, I made the mistake to listening to unsubstantiated disparaging remarks made by another postal worker, who has in later years proved to be an unreliable witness about other matters.  For whatever reason, I chose to harbor bad feelings toward the postman and the situation in which I found myself exacerbated those feelings.  We were moving to the house next door to the music store, having done an extensive renovation on the century-old brick dwelling.  Perhaps I had been worn down by the ordeal of acquiring permission from the city council to actually live in the house, or maybe it was the sum of money the renovation had extracted, much in excess of the original estimate at which we had arrived.  Regardless, the day of the big blow-up arrived without any warning.

Our former tenant in the house having taken the mailbox off the wall on the porch to make sure their mail stopped arriving, I was prepared to install a new box in the same place, but was informed by the postman that he would not be delivering my mail by hand.  We would have to install a mailbox at the curb.  Having listened to the stories from the bad witness mentioned above, I jumped to the conclusion that this was just a sign of laziness and said so.  In retrospect, I think that a hole appeared in the dam right then.  A judiciously applied patch (maybe even a finger) might have avoided the deluge, but it was not to be.  He suggested a new site for the mailbox, right in front of the parking area at the house and another leak appeared.  I refused that suggestion and he angrily suggested a different site, even less desirable, and the dam failed completely.  I argued.  He argued.  I shouted.  He shouted.  There we stood, on the street, two grown men out of control.  There were no blows thrown, no weapon pulled, but you get the picture.  Even today, I’m too embarrassed to look at the image for very long, so we’ll move on.

A few hours later, the Postmistress came by to help determine the placement for the mailbox, assuring me that the requirement was the policy of the Postal Service and was not because of any imagined fault of the postman’s.  All my self-righteousness was false, the whole premise for my refusal, a sham.  If I was embarrassed before, I was mortified now.  I asked the lady to have the postman stop by to see me when it was convenient and waited, dreading his arrival.  When I saw him again, he greeted me with a terse, “So?”  For a moment, the intended apology was almost forgotten, but good sense prevailed and I was able to make my apology and ask for forgiveness.  I was amazed at the change in manner that occurred instantly.  We have continued to live in harmony and he delivers our mail to this day.  What’s better is that you could even describe our relationship from that day as a friendship.  Where there was disdain and coolness, there is a respect and warmth, even a certain sense of affection.  Okay, we don’t hug, but I’ve never once yelled at him since that day.  With God’s help, I never will again.

Hey, you say; a happy ending!  Well, yes, but the bones are still buried and I know where they are.  I am constantly aware of who I am and what I’m capable of.  I’ve told you before of the inscription on the flyleaf of my high school graduation present, the Bible my parents gave me.  I’m still learning the principle, and it looks like mastering the lesson is likely to be a lifelong endeavor.  “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”  The grievous words are always there, just waiting below the surface.  My prayer is that they will one day be completely gone.  Until then?  I’ll just to have to find a muzzle large enough for my big mouth.

Oh!  Just a suggestion…Don’t believe everything you hear about a person, either good or bad.  It turns out that both are likely to be blown out of all proportion to the truth.  Just thought you should be warned, in case you hear one of those horrible rumors about me. 

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.”
(Benjamin Franklin~American statesman and author)

“If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all!”
(Thumper from “Bambi”)

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