Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conversations In The Intersection

A little while ago, someone made a fairly big (and pretty inaccurate) assumption about me. It hurt. A lot. It rubbed and nagged for the rest of the day. And then some, apparently.

It was a statement that came like a bus careening out of control into an intersection. At that point in the conversation, I could tell something was rumbling down the pike, something that could have had some serious collateral damage. Do I pull out into the conversational intersection? Do I speed up and ignore the caution light? Do I slam the brakes and sit, waiting for aftershocks?

I had to make that split second decision when I heard it coming: I chose to floor it and move through the intersection as quickly as I could. I'm still not sure if it was the right choice.

I sat on the other side of it, trembling and shaking inside. Quivering with the "what if's" and the "should I have. . . .?" that plagues us all after a near miss. Yes, I felt relief that the catastrophic conversation was averted. And when I looked around, the damage wasn't visible. But today, sitting here and reviewing it in my mind, I'm feeling the damage. I'm a little wary of going through that part of town again. A little cautious about putting the car in gear and moving out of the driveway. A little panicky at the idea of revisiting that conversation. Ever.

I know what the Word says about nursing hurts. I know that in certain areas, I am easily offended. I know that how I handle, or not handle, conflict and disappointment isn't always the best way. If it was, I wouldn't be feeling shaky and uncertain. I wouldn't replay conversations, wondering how I could have addressed it differently.

I also know that each time these sorts of things happen, I have an alarming tendency to beat myself up with the "what if's" - turning them all into things I should (OH! That word, "should") have done better. Differently. In the interest of keeping peace and avoiding conflict, I absorb the hurtful words. The wrong assumptions. And I keep driving.

What's left behind is not gaping, open wounds from shattered glass and deployed airbags. It's uncertainty. Doubt of my intentions and my navigational skills. Insecurity about my driving abilities. Of my decision making process. Certainly less visible. Certainly less tangible to attend to and doctor up. By any human relationship.

But it's no less painful. And it can only be, must only be, attended to by the Great Physician. The Healer with comfort in His wings. That's where I'm resting today. Or trying to anyway.