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Pop Quizzes & Forgiveness in Absentia
Do you remember having pop quizzes during your school days? Maybe you are a student currently who is still experiencing the daunting pop quiz. Have you considered that life is our classroom as well & that pop quizzes continue in a different yet distinct form? Perhaps the pop quiz though in life is meant to teach us a lesson either about ourselves, our relationships & what truly matters.
If you are like me, you will remember not being fond of the pop quiz in school. In particular, the math pop quiz could take me from calm & collected to breaking out into a cool sweat in record time. Math has always been my nemesis or arch enemy yet in the end has been a saving grace literally & has taught me a life lesson too ironically. How I loathed math entirely throughout school years with the exception of grade 10. Grade 10 clicked with both the material being taught & even more importantly with an extraordinary teacher & person. My math teacher was married to my elementary school music teacher. Both of these teachers left a lasting impression upon me. The music teacher led me to a love of music with a fun approach. Standing at no more than 5 foot 4 inches tall, he was a man that I” looked up” to at school. He taught me a love of the bass & I joyfully brought this instrument home to practice even though it was bigger than me literally. As a funny aside, growing up, I had 2 twin beds in my room. When I brought the bass home to practice on I always laid it down on the other twin bed. The first time I brought it home, my mom & dad were unaware that I had chosen this instrument to learn in school. They were anticipating that I would either choose the flute or violin or something smaller in stature. Somehow, the bass was an instant magnet when I saw it & it kind of chose me. Anyhow, I brought it home the first time & laid it carefully on the bed & closed the door to protect it from our family dog. My parents walked by my room just before bedtime & out of their peripheral vision they spotted what looked like a person laying on my bed yet I was in the kitchen. They let out a collective scream that someone was laying in one of my beds! It was hilarious! That was their introduction to the bass & they were surprised big time. No one had to coax me to practice. I loved that instrument. Honestly, I really did not have a natural ability for playing instruments yet it is a beautiful memory thinking of my time with the bass. Mr. Bartlett the music teacher had such a passion & way of encouraging & he “got it” that I had fallen in love with the bass even though some of the notes were not quite on the music page. Mrs. Bartlett my grade 10 math teacher also had patience & a quieter way of encouraging & respecting the students. She treated us like adults & that gave her instant “cool factor.” That was the one & only year that I did not treat math as if it were the enemy. She had a calling to teach & when our boys get to grade 10, I am confident that I will be able to help them with their math homework. If you have type 1 diabetes, you may be smiling right along with me when you come to realize too that math is the subject that sustains our lives literally. Yes, our lives depend upon math! Most of us get pretty good at math when we can place a value (no pun) on it like the fact that we need to get it right to feel well with type 1.
Okay, so let’s ask ourselves what pop quizzes we may face in life. What are pop quizzes in life & how will we recognize them? The first clue is that they will hit us out of nowhere. Let’s take type 1 or any “365” challenge for example. These would definitely hit us out of nowhere. None of us would be expecting to get news that we have type 1 or any other 365 challenge most likely. What an unwelcome pop quiz. This is an understatement. I will share though that from type 1, I continue to learn countless lessons about life. The type 1 pop quiz has taught me about relationships & humour & what my bigger “yes” is & what it is not. It has in summary taught me to love bigger, laugh louder, appreciate huger, and embrace fully what matters most & discard the “reindeer games.”
At our house, we have quite a bunch of sayings that probably only mean something to us. You may find this to be the case in your home or your circle of friends as well. Many of the sayings are out of context here & used with humour often & other times to get a point across. A humourous one as a sidebar example is “hair of the dog.” Most people think of that saying as meaning something other than what we do at our home. Each morning when I go through my routine of consuming many things that are good for me yet taste disgusting, I will declare to our sons that it is time for “hair of the dog!” Then, I will down the health promoting cocktails with a stiff upper lip. I also will say that it is time for “hair of the dog” if I need to change my infusion set or go for blood lab work. Okay, back to the saying, “reindeer games.” In our house, when we say that we are not interested in the “reindeer games” that essentially means that someone is behaving in a way that is negative. Our sons know that if a reference of no more “reindeer games” is spoken that it is time to cease the behavior.
“Reindeer games” can also be pop quizzes. Most of us will agree that we hope that people will treat others with the “golden rule.” The odd time however, a pop quiz in the form of huge “reindeer games” may appear to either you or I. It is when someone in our lives that we have usually seen in a great light starts to cast a shadow upon him or herself. In other words, the person out of what would seem like left field behaves in a way that hurts us & we could not have seen this coming. This likely happens to all of us at some points in our lives. When adults though enter into “reindeer games” & behave essentially like what we see some grade 7 girls participating in or a segment out of the movie, “mean girls”, it is something that we want to get in front of quickly with the spirit of “cut out the reindeer games & that’s not okay.” I find myself in this situation right now yet with a different attitude since being diagnosed with type 1. Prior to type 1, my natural state or reaction would have been to become cross with this type of behavior as well as hurt & confront this in a battle like fashion. Now though thankfully, I find myself instead feeling compassion for this person & seeking to understand why this person is behaving out of character. I find myself giving the benefit of the doubt & being more understanding than I would have given myself credit for even though I feel deeply hurt at the same time. And my heart knows without a doubt that after this storm, we will remain friends. As an “aha” aside, I would love to share a story with you of someone that I met only once that will have a lifetime impact upon part of my attitude.
Just over 2 years ago, my Dad & I were led on a family journey of the heart together. I will write of it soon as it is a treasured story. For today though, I would love to share that through a family member, my Dad & I found ourselves meeting someone new & this person was meant to teach me through a positive pop quiz something about relationships. At one point he was talking about a property that he owns jointly with another fellow. He did share that there was in the beginning a parting of the minds on what was to be done to upgrade part of the pond. He said that when his partner was not behaving in the best light that he simply looked him in the eye & said, “We are going to have a courageous conversation & after we are done, we will still be friends.” I love that! Instead of having a “battle” or argument with an unwelcome outcome, he said those respectful words & set the expectation that their friendship would remain fully intact despite their initial difference of opinion. Their partnership & friendship is indeed flourishing all these years later.
Right now, I am dialing up my basal insulin on my pump when I think about this troubled time that is happening right now with this relationship pop quiz in my own life. I am dialing back though on the need to have an argument. Instead, I adopt with full fervor the spirit of having a courageous conversation followed by an intact friendship. The individual is not yet ready to participate in this courageous conversation right now but one day they will be. In the meantime it is my job to let the pop quiz of type 1 lessons guide me in continuing to be compassionate & looking beyond the “reindeer games” behaviours & seeing further into the future that we will still be friends or at the very least friends from a distance. In the meantime, it is up to me to make the only choice that makes sense for me & that is to forgive her in absentia. I am after all far from perfect myself & have been forgiven many times over in this life.
It takes effort to make myself think differently at times when “reindeer games” pop quizzes are happening. Thankfully, I was put on the path of what was once a complete stranger who gave me the answer sheet to the pop quiz on relationship preserving & forgiveness.
My heart’s hope for you is that you too realize that you have been given the answer sheet for these types of pop quizzes when they arise in your life too.
Smiles, Saundie :)
May this week be pop quiz free & next week's sharing is "It Depends Upon Who We Share the Walk With." :)