I was fuming! I couldn’t help my reaction. I was red-hot angry. But then I took a deep breath and tried to temper my response.
Mark’s intentions were good. The results of his actions were just unfortunate—really unfortunate. And right now, I needed to carefully craft what my next few words would be, so as to avoid more unfortunate results.
Mark had been in the bathroom a long time—a very long time. So long, in fact, that I was worried. So, I walked down the hall and knocked on the door.
“Honey, are you okay?” I asked with my ear resting against the closed door.
“I okay,” he said. “I almost done…”
But I couldn’t help but notice the odd sounds coming from the other side of the door and when I noticed my shoes beginning to stick to the tile, I knew something was up.
“Honey, Momma’s coming in…”
And as I opened the door, that’s when it hit me. The smell was so overwhelming I could barely breath and there was sticky coating on everything in the room.
His own embarrassment and good intentions had lead him to completely drench everything in the room—and I do mean everything—with air freshener. The toilet seat and lid, the shower curtain and bath rug, the bathroom sink and counter—and yes—even the floor, all of it carefully and completely covered in a copious layer of (thankfully, environmentally-friendly and all-natural) room deodorizer.
I wanted to scream. What a mess! What a complete waste of money! What in the world?! But apparently I didn’t have to scream. No words were needed. Mark was able to read my reaction loud and clear. My facial response said it all.
But then—as I watched his tiny smile drop into a frown—I tempered my reaction.
How I felt was completely valid. It was a mess. It was a waste of money. But Mark’s intentions were absolutely true, valid—and good, too.
And in that very moment, as I stood in a standing puddle of room spray, I chose to practice grace. I gave myself the space needed to craft an intentional response that would take into account Mark’s own innocent actions. In short, I felt anger. But I didn’t lash out.
Grace to Grow On: Ephesians 4:26a
Don’t always go with your gut. Try not to react to how things initially appear. Sometimes things can get lost in translation, so try to look at true intent instead.
Recognize that people make mistakes. They screw up. They hurt others. But take the time to appreciate that the results don’t always accurately reflect their real intentions. And when you discover those, let them guide your response accordingly.
In other words, purpose to practice grace.