“Misty, try not to make a permanent decision based on temporary emotions. Do you understand what I am saying? Think first and then act, not react. Knee jerk reactions will not help with this situation.”
I felt like he was talking in bumper sticker sentences and to be honest I was irritated, and annoyed with him.
“You don’t understand dad. I hurt so bad, I want them to hurt as much as I do.”
“Misty, fight against that urge for revenge. This is what it means to row against the current, or stand against the tide. Time to let your demands for justice go by the wayside. Bitterness will kill you emotionally and kill your ability to be a good mom. Your children are looking at you to be strong. Show them that strong, forgiving mom.”
It took three months for me to be able to work through my anger and hurt. During that time period I had no contact with Old Man, and all morning coffee times were suspended. It was the longest three months of my life.
I wanted our coffee times back, but due to the falling out I had had with his son, I knew life would not get back to normal until his son was removed from the property. I had to wait.
By the beginning of August I had worked through my pain and was at the point where I was willing to forgive. By then his son had been removed from the property.
One afternoon, while I was out picking blackberries in the vines that separated mine and Old Man’s property, he saw me working and sent his grandson out to speak with me and relay a message.
He wanted to talk.
I waited 24 hours, I wanted to give myself time to think about what I would say and to make sure my attitude was one of restoration, not retaliation. I was unsure of Old Man’s involvement in the situation and unsure of what he was going to say.
As I came in and sat down in the man cave, that morning, Old Man looked at me with tears in his eyes and said,
“I am sorry. Things sure got out of hand didn’t they? I want our coffee times back. Johnny is gone. He was told he had to leave. I am sorry I didn’t stand up for you, but I couldn’t.”
As I sat there listening too him, and seeing how much his health had declined in just three months, I felt like a fool. I had allowed my imagination to run wild. After he said what he said, I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring him. This was not about my imagination, my ego and feelings being hurt, this was about his quality of life, and he wanted our coffee times back.
That morning I decided to do what my dad had said, and I went against the tide. I told him I loved him and stated that I missed our morning times together as well. I listened to what he said and realized I was wrong as well.
We had an extended coffee time that morning. It lasted until almost noon.
I learned a valuable lesson that day, and I began to understand what my dad had said to me. This is what I think going against the tide means.
Don’t make emotional decisions. Reacting is emotional in nature. It is based on what I think the other person said, the tone of their voice, or the look on their face, and it never ends well. I thought Old Man didn’t care. I thought he supported his son. What I did learn that morning was that Old Man did not confront his son because of his poor health. He did not agree with his son in anyway, shape or form. In a way, he was afraid of him. That’s why Old Man did not step in. I was wrong in my view of my friend.
Take the time to evaluate the situation, listen and ask appropriate questions. That four hours we sat and talked gave me the opportunity to calmly ask questions. It gave me the time to listen and see my friend in a new light. It also gave me a chance to acknowledge what I did wrong.
I am very thankful for the counsel my dad gave me. It was because of his counsel that I was able to spend a few more months with my friend before he died.
Going against the tide is not easy. Reigning in emotions is like trying to rope and domesticate a wild horse. It can be done, it just takes patience, perseverance, and of course self control.
I would like to say I have mastered my emotions, but that would be a lie. All I can say is that everyday I learn a little bit more, and everyday my knee jerk reactions are becoming less. There is something said for learning to stand against the tide.