So this post is strictly for amusement purposes and if it makes you feel better about any of the odd or crazy things you’ve ever done in an overwhelming flood of emotion, well that’s just a bonus.
When I wrote the post last week about not being able to verbalize what I am feeling, it triggered a series very funny memories about some of the things that I have done over the years when emotions swelled and simply were not going to be ignored. Apparently, they had a mind of their own and when I couldn’t articulate them, they created their own avenue of escape and made me look like an idiot on more than one occasion.
Please know that some of these things are only funny in hindsight and I’ve altered them slightly to protect the unsuspecting witnesses to (or should I say victims of) my lack of personal awareness. But my responses are all completely accurate and true, in embarrassing detail.
Just a few years ago a very close friend called from the Emergency Room to say that paramedics had brought her dear grandfather to the hospital and he was unresponsive. I met her there and sat with her in a family consultation room where an ER doctor had let her know that her grandfather had died. I sat there as she wept along with our sweet pastor and his wife who had joined us. Thankfully the Lord sent people who did know what to say because all I could do was cry with her and keep passing her Kleenex.
So later that afternoon after leaving the hospital and getting her home, I was feeling so sad for her and feeling like I had handled the whole Emergency Room situation so inadequately, that I felt COMPELLED to do something (mental note: when I feel compelled to do something I should probably not do anything). All I could think was that in the next day or so all of her family, who are spread far and wide across the country, were going to be arriving in town and she was going to need to feed them (she’s wonderful about feeding people). So in a flash of brilliance (sarcasm), I ran to Costco and bought one of their trays of deli sandwiches that will feed tons of people, or at least 10 or 12. I then made a stop at a convenience store and bought her a Coke Zero. Who doesn’t need a little sugar-free caffeine to help get over a crying headache, right?
I arrived on her front porch a while later, she opened the front door, still teary-eyed, and I so wanted to say EXACTLY the right thing, but all that came out was, “I don’t do grief well, but I brought you some sandwiches.” That’s the best I can do. I really don’t remember what happened next, but we have laughed about it TONS since then (in fact we laughed about it last week) and every single time I pass the deli sandwiches at Costco I smile.
Then there was the first time I ever had to fire an employee. Let me say, if you’ve never had to do this, count yourself fortunate. Even if someone needs to be fired, it just doesn’t feel good being the person who actually has to do it (unless of course your issues are different than mine and you enjoy such things). I found this situation particularly stressful because the employee in question had in the past proven to be volatile and I just never knew what version of her was going to show up each day. It sort of depended on what combination anti-psychotics she was taking that week. Which meant that when my office door closed in order to give us privacy, I felt trapped and very vulnerable.
I wish I could say I communicated to her in a clear and concise manner in all of my best professionalism. However, I have a nervous laugh that decided to make an appearance that day, and IT WOULD NOT STOP. It was awful. I nervous-laughed through the entire thing. Just picture Anthony Bouvier on Designing Women – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well that’s a whole other post.
I should have been the one fired that day. Sadly this seems to be a pattern for me when I feel vulnerable and unsure of someone’s reaction to me when I have to be the bearer of bad news. It happens way more than I would like. Have I mentioned I don’t like conflict?
So this last one is just as ridiculous. Years ago when I was in college I had a friend who was a police officer and one night they called to tell me they had been involved in a shooting and the suspect had died. It wasn’t a long conversation, but I put myself in their shoes and even though my friend was totally justified in what happened it was still a gut-wrenching thing to walk through. Meting out life and death regardless of the circumstances is rough on the human frame. Once again, I had all these emotions that were desperate to escape and convey themselves to my friend.
As usual I was at a total loss as to what to say, so do you know what I did? The only logical thing a girl could do in that situation, I called a local florist and sent my friend a plant. My police officer friend shot and killed a criminal and I sent them a plant. Not just any plant, a pretty ugly plant. This was long before the internet and I was no plant expert, so when I described the situation to the florist (imagine what must have gone through her mind) she suggested a kalanchoe. In all fairness to her officer-involved-shooting-the-suspect-is-dead plant suggestion, I must have told her I was in college and had a very limited plant-sending budget.
What’s worse is that after I ordered it I kept calling it a ‘kakamelia.’ If you just Googled that then you know there is no such thing. There are just so many layers to my humiliation.
Like I said, this was strictly for your entertainment pleasure. And if you know me in real life, then right now you are wondering why I didn’t turn this into a whole series because there are MANY more of these events I could share.
Again, life’s too hard to walk alone and it’s definitely too hard to walk without a good laugh along the way. Even though I usually don’t have the exact right words for my friends in moments of crisis, I keep showing up and love them the best way I can. Except of course for the whole firing episode…for that I have absolutely no explanation. Sometimes I think my role on the stage of life is to provide the comic relief.
Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV) – “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”