Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fighting with grace

Aside from the dreamt scenario I wrote about yesterday, fighting (verbally, emotionally, physically) in any situation takes discernment.  I think so anyway.  I'm not the type to fight physically (never have, God willing, never will) and I am not the type to yell and scream, though regrettably, I can pack a mean verbal punch.  Emotionally, politically (in the church), I can fight. And sometimes we are forced to fight, other times we are simply tempted to fight.  

For instance: Someone starts saying slanderous things about you, gossiping throughout the church or community and threatening to ruin your leadership, your reputation, or the respect you have from others.  In some instances, you can fight. In some instances you have to fight.  In other instances, it's best to hold your tongue and ignore the incendiary comments.  "It would depend."  

Often when attacked in the work place it's very tempting to stand up and fight back, to argue that we are in the right, or argue "the truth." It can be particularly tempting to lash out and "put the other person in their place".  And yet, that's often the least productive response.  I learned a few years ago, sometimes it is best to respond with grace, no matter how hard it is, because the truth will come out in the end.  It may not be as immediate of a resolution as we would like, but the truth will come out.  And you will be known for rising above the chaos and handling yourself (and the other person) with respect and dignity.  And that will count for a lot.

Friday, April 13, 2012

You would fight wouldn't you?

One morning R shared that he had had a bad dream...a nightmare where I had been raped.  In the dream, I told him that I hadn't fought off the attacker because he told me I could live if I didn't fight. So I chose life and didn't fight.

In the real life conversation, he pleadingly asked, "You would fight, wouldn't you?!" I shrugged my shoulders and said, "It would depend."

I pray that I never have to know the pain and anguish of rape (physically, emotionally, or spiritually). I have worked with enough survivors to know that it is awful. I've also worked with enough survivors to know, "it would depend."  Most of us, if not all of us, would think that we would be able to fight.  and win.  But that isn't always the case.  And there are very real situations where a victim is faced with a choice, life or abuse.  As much as I wouldn't want to choose abuse (I use that term VERY loosely since I do not believe it is a true choice, only sometimes a choice between the lesser of two evils, which is no choice at all), I would want to choose life.  Maybe in a different scenario, I would see an out, I would have a chance, or be willing to risk it and fight.  I don't think that knowledge or that decision can be foretold or preplanned, it is simply something that has to be judged in the moment.  

It all depends.