Put up with each other and forgive whatever complaints you may have with each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
I just read a list of the worst pets to own. The article held no value to me because I’ve never been tempted to own a Madagascar hissing cockroach, or an iguana (which can grow to six feet and often carries disease), or a boa constrictor (which can do just what its name suggests).
Don’t get me wrong – I do own dangerous and undesirable pets (which, inexplicably, failed to make the list.) I’m not proud of this, but I currently own a menagerie of pet peeves.
Pet peeves multiply faster than rabbits, and you waste a lot of time feeding them. A pet peeve, by definition, is something that annoys you. So why I keep adding to my collection of things that irritate me is, to say the least, mystifying.
But, just as mystifying is the new school of thought that help us cope with life’s grievances. The new thinking claims we have a right to be angry. When we experience injustice – or even unfortunate events – we, supposedly, are entitled to be upset.
Well, okay. Maybe it does help to ventilate anger and express grievances. But I can’t help thinking about Charlie Plumb. Lieutenant Plumb was a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War, when he was shot down on May 19, 1967, south of Hanoi. As a POW, he endured unimaginable tortures, starving, and humiliation. Five years and nine months later, Plumb was released and returned to the United States.
Plumb underwent routine psychiatric counseling to help him deal with the trauma from his years of imprisonment. “You have the right,” the psychiatrist kindly told him, “to be bitter.”
But Plumb refused to accept this kind of therapy. “I have the right to be bitter?” he would ask, “That’s like saying I have the right to have diarrhea.”
Now, I doubt if I could stagger out of a prison camp like Charlie Plumb and simply forgive those who tortured me, and get on with life without experiencing deep emotional damage. But, I wish I could.
A few weeks ago, I rode over a thousand miles with a guy named Rob. When I drive I get easily annoyed with other drivers who fail to dim their headlights or signal a turn in busy traffic. But Rob had a different approach. He talked other drivers through their faults. “Hey, buddy,” he would calmly say, “no need to cut so sharply in front of me.” “Hey, buddy, no need to tailgate me; I can’t go any faster than the car in front of me.”
By the end of our trip Rob had a lot of “buddies.” But he taught me that life is better lived when we calmly accept the faults of others rather than adding to our growing list of grievances.
Peeves make lousy pets.
(text copyright 2011 by Marty Kaarre)