“I have never learned anything with my mouth open.” So reads the sign on the office wall of our friend, Howard, who shared that ditty with us this past week. Although clever, I disagree. I have learned great lessons with my mouth open: mainly, that I can be a fool.
Like a few days ago. I was in Wichita, Kan., for a baseball tournament with my husband and three sons. For a week our lives were scheduled for us, thanks to organizers Brent and Jenny Hall and their adult daughter, Haleigh, who kept us informed of schedule changes, etc.
On Friday evening the family members were to meet in the lobby at 5:45 p.m. for a scheduled 6 p.m. bus departure to the ballgame. I was there. Alone. I texted my daughter-in-law, Jenn, who said the group text showed a time change to 6:30. She suggested that I ask Haleigh to put me on her group text so that I would get the announcements. That’s what I did.
Immediately my phone lit up with rapid-fire texts from the other wives. “Do you have an extra hat I can have?” “I will meet you at the game. Don’t look for me on the bus.” “Can I get extra tickets for friends coming into town?” You get the picture. Jenn suggested I ask to be removed from the group text. Good idea. I texted Haleigh to make that request.
On Sunday morning, I found out that friends from Fort Scott were coming to the game, and since Haleigh’s number was still in my contact list, I texted her to ask for tickets. Her response? “Sorry, but you were removed from this group. Maybe you should ask someone in the group to add you again!”
I read it again.
EXCUUUUUSE me? And what’s with the exclamation point?
I re-read the response.
Well, EXCUUUUUSE me again! After trying to get Dave as upset as I was (never happen), I responded. “I asked to be removed because I realized most of it wasn’t any of my business. I didn’t know I needed to be in the group to ask for tickets. No worries.”
Still, I stewed, waiting for Haleigh’s apology. I would have to tell Jenn so she never again suggested someone be removed from Haleigh’s elite little group. Before making that call, our son Jeff dropped by our hotel room. I sought his empathy, a waste of time since that male apple didn’t fall too far from that uncompassionate tree. “Mom, that doesn’t sound like Haleigh. What number do you have?”
Not the right one, as it turned out. The one I used was for the group text which sent out an automated reply to people outside the group. When Jeff gave me Haleigh’s private number and I made the call to the right number, she couldn’t have been more helpful. Jeff wasn’t finished. “Wow, Mom, why did you assume the worst?”
Because I’m good at it would have been the honest answer. Of course, I didn’t say that. I attempted to defend my actions, in which case both the tree and the apple would have none of it.
Relationships have been ruined when assumptions are made. Someone doesn’t answer my email or is short-answered with a text reply or doesn’t invite me to their dinner party or…
Proverbs 25:8 (MSG) simplifies the way I am to think when my feelings are hurt: “Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”
Otherwise, my assumption becomes my truth which leads to an ugly response which results in broken relationships…or, in one case, war.
Next week we will look at a Biblical example of how close that came to happening.