Wednesday, June 8, 2011


In many ways, I would like to be like Laura Bush or Henrietta Lacks (WHAT? YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT HENRIETTA?! Then you must go buy the book about her, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It's fascinating.). No one can say an unkind word about them. These women are welcoming, warm, and kind, and they think the best of people.

I, however, cannot be described that way. I want to be welcoming, warm, kind, etc., and I am -- to some people. Was it Jesus who said that even "bad people" (I am paraphrasing-- don't sic Wycliff on me!) love their friends and that we need to love all people?

I am at my worst around some people, even people I might call my friends. They make me feel awkward, and so I act awkward, stiff, and strange. I might say things that I myself don't even agree with, and I might pronounce judgements just to have something to add to the conversation. I almost always walk away from interacting with them, shaking my head and wondering why the heck I even engage them in the first place. I know I come across as arrogant, judgmental, and unkind. This is all they know of me.

I can't blame my awkwardness on them, and I can't blame them if they don't think the best of me. I do have all those negative qualities. It's not that I think I don't; it's more that I don't exclusively have them.

One of my former-students-turned-friend came over on Sunday. We had a great time talking, and she shared with me how she has really worked (and succeeded) at ridding herself of the vices she thinks she has inherited from her dad. She credits Jesus with the transformation, but she acknowledges how much work it was on her part as well. The downside to these changes is that her friends from high school don't know the new her. They still see her as their caustic high school friend, and that frustrates her. Just like it took time for her to change, she knows it will take time for her friends to see that change.

After talking with her, I realized my problem was three-fold:
1. No, I am not kind to all people.
2. Yes, I put forth an especially bad (and mis-representative) vibe to some people I know.
3. Even as I try to become less judgmental and more accepting in my relationships, not everyone will buy it.

But I am still going to try. Most of the time, my vices do not hinder relationships. But I am going to re-make character training a priority, so that my faults cannot claim any sort of hold on dealings with other people. I am, this week, working on disciplining my thoughts so that eventually my words will follow.

I may never be like Laura or Henrietta, but I will not let myself get in the way of loving others.


  1. I find myself doing the same thing. Maybe it's because we grew up in the northeast? (Well, for me longer than you but it doesn't matter.) I like to think of myself as a nice, sweet person but in fact I am not that way to EVERYONE. Good thoughts today, KT! P.S. My sister says she can't comment on your blog for some reason. Just wanted to let you know she wants to! :)

  2. You have hit on some universal truths:
    1. Some people bring out the best in us; others bring out the worst.
    2. People who bring out our worst have deep issues of their own.
    3. Character development of the kind you seek is merely thinking of the other person first (health, comfort, abilities).
    4. "Judgment" is sometimes a warning bell that something is without integrity.
    5. Responding to what you hear in #4 is what #3 requires of you.
    6. And sometimes we mess up. Accept the grace.