Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If I ever have to answer the question "what is your biggest pet peeve?"  Almost without hesitation, I will say: "selfishness" or "narcissism".  They essentially mean the same thing--an obsession with getting one's own needs met.  It rears its ugly head in me more than I care to admit but I happen to have married someone and birthed people who have no problem bringing it to my attention when they see it--and vice versa.  This is both a blessing and a curse.

I come from a long line of narcissists so it's a trait I have battled against most of my adult life.  Extreme selfishness caused my immediate family to be irretrievably broken--and the family preceding ours, too.  Sometimes I know I can go overboard on my quest to not repeat that pattern in my own family of five.  My kids roll their eyes when I start in on my observations about how our culture has become so "me obsessed" that common courtesy and thoughtfulness are virtually obsolete.  I've been known to come down on their friends for calling me by my first name, not saying hello to me when they come in our house or just having plain old bad manners.  Boy, does this go over well on the popularity meter.  Not.

It really does concern me that we live in a society that is not other-centered.  And look where it has taken us.  I can really get down in the dumps (and bitter) if I spend too much time thinking about this.  This afternoon I was having a little complaint session with God about this very subject while I walked down the driveway to the mailbox.  Inside, I immediately spotted a large envelope addressed to me with a stamp on it. (this usually means its not a bill) The return address was a P.O. Box.  Hmmmmm. I tore open the envelope and found a beautiful thank you note with a gift card enclosed.  I have recently found myself in the middle of a very heartbreaking custody situation between a couple I love very much.  The card was from the dad with these words inside: "Thanks for being you.  This is a small token of our appreciation for how much you have helped us through this extremely difficult time."   I was humbled and blown away.  Just when I was ready to thrown humanity down the drain, God swoops in and reminds me that, one: all that I do, I do unto Him not others and two: kindness and thoughtfulness still exist.  And they come from the most unexpected places.