Don’t you just hate it when someone or something ruffles your feathers? I do! I absolutely despise it the most when, (for example), life has gotten to a point that I feel comfortable, happy and relaxed – when things are going my way… But then out of the blue, something happens and – “WHA-BAM!” – blows it all to pieces!
One humorous example of this happened several years ago, shortly after moving to Florida and into a rental house in Boynton Beach: I was still struggling with the fact that after a 17 year career in Alabama, I did not yet have a job, nor any prospect of one coming in the near future. I was very much focusing ALL of my energy into the “nesting phase” of a new home in an effort to ease the restlessness I was feeling at the time. I had spent this particular day thoroughly cleaning the house, getting the groceries, putting everything away, organizing the kitchen, getting a fabulous dinner ready and feeling pretty darn goodabout how incredibly “together” I was! My husband arrived home from work, gave me a kiss, sat down and we talked about the day while I fixed his plate of food and (smiling gleefully), brought it to him – COMPLETELY ready for and anticipating his acknowledgment of how “totally awesome” I was! (Pretty self-absorbed…I know – but none the less, it is the truth) I made my plate, sat down, began to relax and then it happened…“Can I have some tea honey?”
That sweet, sweet man…he looked at me so innocently with those big “Balko Blue” eyes, smiling…not realizing the spring that had just sprung in my head! I had forgotten about making the tea – which was his favorite. Such a simple thing, and yet…I had forgotten it. See…this was when I was supposed to be hearing about how totally awesome and incredible I was. I thought to myself, “How could I have missed it? Ohhhh that moment of praise had been just within my grasp!”
Now, my husband is truly one of the nicest and most genuine people you could ever meet, but like many men in this particular situation, he did not have the upper hand of knowing what was happening in my head: Meaning that my self-worth for the day was hinging on the perfect dinner experience, because “I” had indeed become a crazy person! He also did not have the foresight to pick the right thing to say when I exclaimed, “I forgot the tea!” He said, (in the sweet pitiful disappointed voice he uses when he has really been looking forward to something), “Honeeeeeyyyyy!!!”, and BOOM! – There went my feathers!
Now you would just have to know my husband, because it didn’t stop there. You see, he thought he was being funny AND that I was laughing. (Of course….I was NOT laughing; in fact I was now being very quiet and making the tea in the kitchen.) It was at this brief moment that I still had enough sanity to say to myself, “This isn’t a big deal. Shake it off. Just get the tea made, go eat and everything will be fine.”
But no…My husband is not the kind of man who has really got an “off” switch OR a “Warning Will Rogers!! – Warning Will Rogers!!” button. He is like the proverbial moth drawn to the flame!
As I was getting the tea made, it was at that moment he wanted to be “really funny” and so yelled from the living room, “What’s a guy gotta do to get some tea around here?!!” It was at that exact moment…the ringing in my ears began. I felt my temper start to boil as my mind started recalling ‘all the work I had done that day’ as the process of self-pity and resentment began rearing its ugly head, I thought, “He doesn’t appreciate me!” (All the while – he was still chuckling to himself at how funny he was). Stomping into the living room, (hands on hips), I gave him “the look” and it was at that moment my beloved realized that indeed “I” was not laughing. Well, at that point he became visibly nervous and for my sweet husband, that meant every word from that point on would be…. “Wrong!”
And so it happened…My feathers had been ruffled and it was NOT pretty! I had made the shift from happy, proud and anticipating – to bitter, angry and flat out NUTS! As I heard the words begin pouring out of my mouth in an angry tirade, I saw his eyes “freeze” like a deer in the headlights and recall thinking to myself, “STOP!!!” But alas, it is too late! Like a levy that gave way – it spewed from me until there was no more. The next thing that came as sanity slowly returned, was of course, immense regret. I had seen in his eyes what I knew he was thinking…”I just wanted a glass of tea.”
I HATE when that happens! So, being the kind of personality that is always compelled to “figure things out”, I began to question – “Why do I do that?” Over time, this was my conclusion; My feathers are attached to my pride, ego and fear. I have found that consistently, when I have had my feathers “ruffled”, somehow – some way, it has been a situation where my pride and ego were affected adversely OR when something struck a nerve in the area of my fear. Just like a bird in the wild that throws its feathers outward in a defensive posture, so too go mine!
I seriously doubt that the day is going to come where this never happens, but thankfully I have been blessed with having learned some basic principles, (spiritual in nature), that have enabled me to remember that I’m human and only need to make progress – not to be perfect. These principles provide a means to clean up my own side of the street and make things right with whatever the situation may be and/or apologize to whomever I may have wronged. Most importantly to me, it reminds me that I am the “created” and that I have a “Creator”, who can handle all the things that I can’t.
I’ve grown to love the camaraderie of others like myself, who help me to find the humor in my ruffled feathers! One of the greatest gifts in my life, (and especially in my recovery), has been the gift of a sense of humor, because it will bring my feathers back in place quicker than just about anything else. The reason for this I believe; is that, to be able to laugh at myself- is actually to see myself in the truest light, ‘That I am just a fallible human being who is finite by design’. When I can see myself that way, (which God allows me the courage and ability to do), then I have significantly fewer expectations, which result in fewer feathers being thrown about, and then when my sweet husband is “funny”…we both laugh!
©2008-2014 Rebecca Balko