Encounter

Human Problems

March 20, 2019

“If Christ does not change the way in which we confront human problems, Christ is just a fantasy.”

Giussani, L. (1986). Morality: Memory and desire. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

This probably could not have come at a more appropriate time. I am pretty sure my thesis group just blew up.

There is plenty of time to the due date. I know it will get done. I am not concerned at all actually. Remember? I just admitted that I know how to plow through and get something done regardless of how it affects the rest of the team (though I am working on this, and am not advocating for it unless its absolutely necessary).

Leadership and control do funny things to people. It’s like there is this metaphorical gold medal given if you get tapped as the leader of the group. The teacher seems to rely on you a little more. People look at you a little differently. You “stand out” in a class. In a program where we are all busting our asses to get a piece of paper that says we are certifiable leaders, you can see why this happens.

There also comes a time when everyone thinks they are the leader. Every last person tries to strut their stuff, and see if they have the chops to run the group. What inevitably happens, is that the person who really really wants to be deemed the group leader, winds up going a few steps too far and causes distress amongst the rest of the group.

Some people choose to interact with this by just sitting it out. Hey man, its just a paper. I’ll get my stuff in when it needs to be in, and I’ll make sure its good enough for us to get the grade.

But I have a really hard time with passive aggressive behavior that is degrading to the rest of the team. Nearly a decade ago, a friend of mine told me to give up sarcasm for lent. He said that if I couldn’t just say what I needed to say in a direct and kind manner, I probably shouldn’t talk at all because it was not worth hurting so many people. This may seem dramatic, but it really struck me, deeply to my core.

I spent those next 40 days really thinking about what it was I was trying to communicate, and how I could use words that were effective without being hurtful.

This may have backfired a little bit- I now seem to be more like Temperance Brennan from Bones than I’d like to be, but you know… you win some you lose some.

So when someone decides to deal with problems with nasty, passive aggressive texts I have an issue with it. I spent a solid 10 minutes writing and re-writing a text to the person having a problem. It was straightforward. It started with I am not sure what’s wrong but it would be easier for us to move forward if you could just state what is going on.

And then I deleted it. Over, and over. Because what came after it was, while accurate and truthful, NOT helpful.

Because if I say that I believe that Christ has changed me, then I have to acknowledge that sometimes, just turning the other cheek and dealing with the mess is the appropriate course of action, no matter how right I feel that I am.

So onwards I go. Reformatting. Filling in gaps. Editing to make everything sound like one paper. And hoping, beyond all hopes that in 7 days, my client appreciates the hard work.

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