Have you ever been part of a conversation where people are chit-chatting and someone says something and it's like...BOOM!
No names need to be said. No meanness needs to be implied.
But without realizing it, the hornets nest opens and the stingers are flying?
And it's a super big deal.
And sometimes, no one really knows what is going on, or how this wounded a tender heart, but it did and now you are cleaning up a big, emotional mess?
Tuesday at dance we had a great practice.
We danced hard, sweated hard, learned hard.
9pm struck, class ended and we all gathered around for our group meeting.
I know we are all adults or older teens, but hey, circle time has always been a good thing for us.
The conversation started by one of our sweet "veteran" dancers expressing her love and appreciation for our class. Our studio is very much a "family" and that was expressed.
But somewhere along the lines, as group discussion ensued and other (well-meaning) themes were pursued, hurt feelings suddenly popped up.
Without anyone realizing it.
It was as if someone pulled an invisible trigger.
And the ensuing shot startled everyone.
And it was so, so sad.
And the hornets started buzzing and everyone was just caught there.
In the middle.
Feeling the sting.
Most people not knowing what was going on, and only a few clued in to what might be.
So, after recollecting,
I have some thoughts on what to do (I hope!) if I ever find myself in such a similar situation.
Because it can all happen suddenly.
And clean-up should not be messier than it needs to be. It will, no doubt, be messy enough.
When You Step On a Hidden Hornet's Nest
1. Identify what just happened. Before anything else happens, before anger or tearful responses start flying out of your mouth, mentally realize that you stepped on something sensitive.
2. Pray silently over the situation. You just recognized this is a tricky, messy situation, and now you need wisdom. It can be a quick prayer, but pray for God's help in resolving this. "Help God!" is not without benefit.
3. Think about what the other person says, before you respond. Really try to hear their point. Be attentive and listen to the other person's heart. Maybe not what they actually say, but what they really mean. It is going to be more uncomfortable to do this, but you will probably regret any immediate outburst on your part.
4. Keep your words few and keep them kind. Acknowledge where the other person is coming from, and clarify if need be. Depending on the situation, you may need to say certain things. But keep it Christ-like. You are working toward reconciliation. If you are in the group, but not part of the initial discussion, I recommend keeping quiet unless what you have to add can help de-escalate the matter.
5. Be patient during the uncomfortable bits, but try to work towards closure, not toward a deeper argument. I hate conflict. And my family can attest to the fact that I will speed up the closure part in order to exit an uncomfortable situation. I just hate messy conversations. I actually held my head in my hands while listening to this play out. And I squirmed. But sometimes these things take time. However, hashing other problems that might have arisen during the discussion should probably be avoided at this time. Be moving toward a conclusion.
6. Apologize for the misunderstanding, and your casual words. I realize some people do not believe in apologizing unless you are blatantly at fault, but sometimes (such as in this case) it helps to apologize for a misunderstanding. It is almost a curtesy to the other person. If you are at fault, apologize for the fault. Someone actually did this, and it was so impressive. I have never seen a 16 year old act so calmly and maturely. Responsibility taken is a marvel to watch.
7. Try to close on a positive note and then take some time alone to chill. If you can give the person a smile or handshake/hug, do so. Then, get yourself some place where you can have quiet time. Take a walk. Or go to your car (like me) and call your mom for some extra prayer. If you can, get yourself in a place where you can read scripture and pray again over the issues.
I would love to say all these things come naturally to me. Or that if I had to deal with this type of thing alone, I would not blabber myself into further confusion. But I can only say that I want to hone these skills. I want to be a peacemaker. And, as hard as it may be, one has to live through these things to learn how to navigate them.
It is true I was mighty uncomfortable even though I was not really part of this discussion. Also, I was super impressed by how the main people responded to help the injured person. I see that it is a true GIFT to have the composure to not respond in emotion. My hope is that I can someday handle a situation like this with similar grace.
So anyway...a lot of life lessons on the blog lately!
A lot of stuff to pray about too.
I want to be a peacemaker.
Not an emotional responder.
How about you?
~Peace to YOU~