In the past few weeks, I've become more and more aware of how rude people can be.
There was a woman- in her fifties- who cut in front of Jeff and I in the concessions line at the movie theatre.
There was a family in the hotel pool who stripped their 3 year old son down completely naked, poolside, with no regard to his privacy or to what impact that could have on my kids.
There was a 20-something couple in the very small hotel pool who opted to turn the place into their own personal backyard pool by having rowdy lap races with each other, do flips and cannonballs into the pool, and showing no regard for the impact their fun was having on the water conditions (making it very rough and choppy for 2 small kids who aren't swimmers).
A friend relayed a story on Facebook where someone backed into her car in a parking lot and then yelled and screamed at her for it.
I'm sure I have my moments where I am rude to others. I know that I'm rude to my own family sometimes. I'm sure there are times I'm unintentionally rude or where my actions are perceived as rudeness.
Rude - discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way
Selfish - devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
Part of me thinks that rudeness is steeped in selfishness. And to a degree, it certainly it. But I think it is sometimes more than that. In that definition, the word deliberate is used.
Choosing to be impolite, choosing to be discourteous. In fact, rudeness often feels like the person is trying to hurt you.
It's baffling, really.
I've been focusing a lot on Grace lately. Grace in terms of favor, kindness, goodwill, love. I'm doing a devotional series with a Bible I purchased at the Women of Faith event I attended in August. Maybe that's why I've been more and more aware of the rudeness of others.
With each of the daily devotions, I try to take one thing to focus on for that day. One day, the lesson talked about the importance of stopping yourself from speaking sometimes. That's so hard to do- it can be so easy to fly off with a snippy comment or get a little dig in. But if I really stop and ask myself if I'm responding with grace.... it can change what I say or if I even say anything.
But I also wonder about responding to rudeness. That's a real challenge. When that woman cut in line right in front of Jeff and I, it took a lot to avoid confrontation. And I admit that I had comments flying behind her back- close enough that she had to have heard me. Even now, I look back and my gut says, "But she was being RUDE!" Yes, she was. And it really got under my skin.
I try to remember that I don't know what is going on in someone else's life. I try to remember that living a life of grace means choosing my reactions as well as my actions.
It's a challenge, for sure.
I also think about the lesson my kids learn from my choices. When the young couple turned the pool into their own personal playground, we decided it was time to leave. I could have stomped around and glared at those people. I could have said something to them or mumbled under my breath or whined about them all the way up to our hotel room. Instead, Jeff and I mutually decided that we'd spent almost an hour in the pool and it was time to go chill out in the room. We also opted to remain cheerful and normal about it. And once we were away from the situation, we explained that the people who came into the pool weren't being thoughtful about other people trying to enjoy that small space and that we felt it wasn't really safe and that it wasn't going to continue being fun if we had stayed. Hopefully, my kids saw it demonstrated that mom and dad weren't happy about how things turned out but that we chose to focus on the fun we'd already had and to move on to the next fun part of our day.
Living a life of grace is also living a life of example.
Living a life of selfishness and rudeness is also living a life of example.
What example are you choosing?