Last week I scheduled my annual medical checkup. On my list of favorite things to do, this one ranks in the same category as unblocking drains.
First up, I went for a simple blood test. I’ve had loads of these in my lifetime – no problem. But this one leaked. Into my arm. Within a few hours my arm was covered in deep red and purple bruises and by the next day it was painful every time I moved. My mood soured and turned as blue as my arm. And I was not yet done with the medical examinations.
The next day I sat filling out one of those forms that the medical profession’s receptionists dream up during their slow season. I filled out the reams of information, all the while my arm was throbbing. I had barely sat down after handing the completed tome back when I heard a loud sigh emanating from behind the counter. In her loudest voice, just short of shouting, the receptionist informed me and the entire waiting room that I had filled the form out incorrectly. To a chorus of suppressed sniggers I slunk back to the counter. “Here”, she jabbed at the offending information. I read it, re-read it and wondered what made her, a total stranger to me, decide my name and address was wrong. “That should be your husband’s information,” she said. I looked up just in time to see her rolling her eyes. And that is when I turned into a total jerk.
My arm hurt and I did not like being turned into the waiting room’s entertainment for the morning. I proceeded to explain to her, in a voice I reserve for fools and dithering idiots, why my husband’s information was completely irrelevant. I took great pains to put forward every reason I could think of and some that I just plain made up. By the time I had finished not one person in the waiting room dared to make eye contact with me. Not even a lick of a snigger could be heard. I sat down, feeling justified – an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Except that is not where it ended. Later that night, when the throbbing had subsided and my emotions were not all riled up, I thought about the incident and I was ashamed. My excuse – I was in pain and in a bad mood for having a bunged up arm for no good reason. The scriptures teach that we should confess our faults one to another so this is me confessing. I was a jerk.
Next time someone pushes my buttons I’m going to give them a break. I’m going to assume they’re having a bad day. I’m going to walk the second mile and I’m going to turn the other cheek. I am not going to render evil for evil or riling for riling. I’m going to remember, take pity and show compassion. At least, I pray that this is what I do.
Also, I’m going to apologize to the receptionist. In fact, I apologize to all receptionists everywhere.
Question: I clearly need some tips on how to stay cool under pressure. Any ideas out there?