Monday, May 31, 2010

"Real Men Say They're Sorry."

Wow. Why am I even surprised? Is there a need to go into how I can't believe how long it has been since I have blogged? Do you even know me? This is what I do but, I need to blog again. So, here is a first attempt. I guess that's it - I wait so long to return that it suddenly feels new again. There might be something to that. Anyways, I digress.

I seem to be learning a lot lately. The longer I live life, the more I find I am really blessed. It seems that with each stage of life, the Lord never lets me down. If only I could always remember that.

Lately, the Lord is really using my co-workers to teach me a whole bunch. Big life lessons here, kids. I am fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing team at work who are my friends - and even better - like family. I affectionately refer to them as, my teamily. We care deeply for each other - and I can talk bad about them all day long - but if you try to cross them, you are going down. They have my back in the same kind of way. And because of the precious friendship the Lord has given us, He is using them to teach me, challenge me, and change me.

Here is a little example: Last week we met off campus one morning for a series of meetings. Somehow I was already in a funk because in a high maintenance moment, I didn't think the guys hustled quickly enough to help me lug a few things from my car (ridiculous, really) - they refer to this as me "tanking." I tried to shake it and decided just to keep to myself so no one would find me in a bad mood.

Moments later we ended up in a conversation during one of our meetings that left my very relational side hurting for some people. We all begin to discuss, and before long, my Boss, Rob, had officially hurt my feelings, misunderstood what I was trying to say, and dismissed my point. By no means was this intentional. I am learning this is real life. We were having a conversation, all sharing our thoughts, opinions, and (God forbid) our feelings. Tears welled up in my eyes and none of us had any clue where this had come from-they all grew silent. I am the one that does not cry, and so when I do, they take it pretty seriously. Rob tried to talk it through with me and after no avail he said we would discuss it later.
Great. Conflict Resolution. ANOTHER lesson. Ugh.

I masterfully compartmentalized for the rest of the day, as I seem to usually do and we had a blast - but that was not the end of it and I should have known. The next day Rob called me into his office to talk about what happened (talking through conflict in a healthy way was something that was pretty foreign to me before Fellowship). I didn't want to have another hard conversation or try to figure out what was really going on in me to illicit such a response the day before.

However, I walked in to a room where I was greeted with humility and kindness. Rob, after a few statements, said, "Erin, I am so sorry." He began to explain to me how he realized he took his "black and white" approach to life and nailed it to this situation our team had been discussing - and to me, there was a grey area. When we couldn't agree, I felt misunderstood, and things went crashing in a downward spiral. I realized ... he didn't apologize because he did something wrong, he apologized because he cared and that was huge for me to see. It was because he had offended me, hurt me - not that he had broken a rule of some sort. I realized that this was intensely healing for me - I didn't grow up like that. Humility and apologies were not something I encountered as a child - especially not like this, and definitely not from a man.

Days later, Kayla and I were at Rob and Kirsten's for dinner when Ben, their youngest, and Sarah, the middle child, got into a fight. All I remember was walking down the hallway when I overheard a conversation between Ben and Rob.

Rob sat Ben down and said:
"Ben, I will tell you one of the things my Dad always told me."
"What, Dad?"

"Real Men Say They're Sorry."

I hope Ben learns what a difference it makes.
The world could use some more real men.
I am beyond blessed to get to work with a few of them.

Thanks for the lesson, thanks for caring, and thanks for teaching me too,

*Robs Dad passed away years ago. We all know how much Rob loved his Dad. What I love is seeing a man that lived so well, and loved so much,
that his life affected people who never had the chance to meet him.