My lovely partner has our dear little boy (nearly eight months old!) and I have a few precious minutes to work and rest, which, after caring for a flu-sick child the whole week, work and rest feel very similar because no one is nursing, crying, or sleeping on me while I try to sit very still so as not to wake him.
I do wish I would post here more, and I have drafts in the queue, but just can’t let myself publish things that are so unpolished.
I learned that when an issue with me/my ministry arises, I should listen more, explain less, apologize clearly and directly, and document my efforts to improve the situation. It does not help to explain my thinking in that moment.
I think I need to do this more in life. When there is a complaint, listen, don’t explain, apologize clearly and directly. My partner and I struggle with this a lot: one complaint causes the other to say, “Well you do that too!” and no one feels heard or addressed. I want to make a rule for myself (ha! and my partner, but it is harder to make rules for him…) that when there is a complaint, I will make sure that the person feels heard, try not to explain it away, and apologize. The apologizing part is hard sometimes, right, because what if you don’t feel like the complain is legit? We can at least apologize that the person feels hurt or upset. We can make sure the person feels heard even if we don’t affirm that it seems the same way to us. Isn’t that often the point of the apology – not to say, “Yes, you are right and I am wrong,” but to say, “I can understand why you feel that way and I am sorry you do and I’m sorry for my role in that.” This is a difficult balance – to affirm, to hear, to honor, but also to factor in our own perspective.
I have to remind myself over and over that I am never going to “get it” and it will be done. Life is an ongoing journey, struggle, joy, learning, growing, hurting, celebrating sort of thing. We aren’t going to figure it out. It is like the tide – in and out, in and out.
And so it goes.