I know I have written about this before, but I've had a pretty fantastic day, and I really feel like talking about it again. So here goes. I am not the same person I used to be. The Layne from 5 years ago, is not the Layne of today. In fact, the Layne of 1 year ago is not the Layne of today. But, I especially look back to my high school and early college years and think what an amazing change I've made, and how glad I am that I am not that person anymore. The difference has nothing to do with the obvious worldy changes I have made in my life, it has nothing to do with that fact that I don't drink alcohol anymore, or go out and party, it is very much an inner change that happened to me and that I'd like to dwell on that today.
I used to be mean. I was a mean person, especially in high school. I was a bully, and another B-word, too (if ya know what I'm sayin'). I was mean to people for a million different reasons, none of them worthwhile, none of them acceptable, and I have no idea why I acted that way or what I thought gave me that right. I certainly had a fair share of people who picked on me, or talked bad about me, maybe my attitude and actions were a defense mechanism- who knows, not me- I'm not a psychiatrist. I do know that I was always amidst controversy, whether I was involved in it, causing it, or talking about it. My senior superlative was "Most likely to start a Gossip Hotline" it sounds funny, but in reality gossip is salicious and hurtful and causes no positive effects on anyone involved. I realize I'm not painting a very flattering picture of myself- but it is a truthful one. Despite this horrible attribute and disposition I had to injure others, I had some great friends. Some who were mean, too, and some who were amazing, kind, and funny people....all who I loved dearly and loved me despite that fact that I acted like Regina George on crack ( Mean Girl's reference).
I'm not sure when I realized how horrible I'd been, or when I stopped being so horrible, I think the change in actions was a gradual transition, and maybe the realization was something of a giant slap in the face epiphany, but none the less, I stopped. For the most part. I still struggle with that meanness more than I would like to admit and sometimes I let it get the best of me. My husband thinks it's equally hilarious and horrifying. Ok... so maybe he thinks it's just horrifying, but he likes to make fun of me behind closed doors about it. He often refers to it as me "getting ghetto" on someone, or if someone else acts that way he may call it "pulling a Layne". These days, though, if I do slip up and are mean to someone, most of the time it stems from me losing my patience or being frustrated. It's no longer for amusement or malicious and I feel like, while it is still unacceptable, it is much more of a flaw and than a condition. For entertaiment purposes here is an example of me losing it:
When we lived in Florence, SC my old Hyundai would decide not to start a lot of the time. It would be completely random and I would have done nothing wrong and it was so embarrassing because it would be in my office parking lot, or somewhere public and I would eventually have to have it towed to a garage to be looked at. The first time it happened the guys told me it started up for them just fine (of course) and I blushed and sighed and explained that that was really discouraging because I tried everything and did nothing wrong and what on Earth could it be, and they asked did I leave my lights on or the door open and I told them no and took my car and left. Then it did it again and I had to have it towed....again, and the shop guys got it to start first try....again! They smiled, sort of chuckled leaned over the counter and very condescendingly said "Sweetheart, are you suuurre you aren't maybe leaving the lights on or door not closed all the way and just running your battery down?" *SNAP*CRACKLE*POP* That sent my lid flying.. Yes I am sure I have not let the battery die, I was sure the first time you suggested it. Do I look stupid, DO. I. LOOK. STUPID. Do you think as an intellegent adult I might have tried to jump my car before bringing it here? That maybe I noticed and pointed out to you that the AC, and radio work and it is just the ignition that doesn't that might clue you in on the fact that I have not let the battery die. Maybe you just thought that I like coming to see you, right? That I paid $70 TWICE to have my car towed but didn't think to check the battery first, silly me for bringing my car here to your place of business that is supposed to be able to help me and tell me what it wrong with my car rather than talk to me like a child and not thoroughly do your job, I assure I wont come back and that someone else will be receiving my money to fix my car-YOU. IDIOT.
<sigh> I'm only human.
But each night when I pray I ask God for forgiveness for anyone I might have caused to be unhappy, anyone I might have injured with my words or an unfriendly look, and anyone I might have said something unkind about. Each day I wake up with one goal, and that is to try and be more like my Savior. He was kind to and loved everyone, even his persecutors, even strangers, even people who believed different things than him, who tested his patience, who were different than he was. I think about how I feel when someone is kind to me, when their tone of voice says that they are glad to be talking to me and I'm not wasting their time, and when a stranger passes and just smiles and waves. It feels great, it can make a bad day an ok day. So, I try to be that person and treat people that way. Today I was nice. I was pleasant and perky and friendly to everyone I came in contact with and it felt great. I feel happier when I make an effort to be good to others, it's infectious and it makes me want to do it all of the time. It makes my heart happy, and I hope that the people I interact with are uplifted by it, too. So just know that when you roll your eyes, or stick up your nose in judgement....that when you feel like you are just too dang busy to deal with someone else, or give anyone your attention, or when someone is wearing thin on your patience, and maybe even when someone is making you bonkers in another car driving next to you on the road....a smile can melt the tension, a nice word can make someone's day, and treating others with respect and love will ALWAYS lead to a better outcome than being mean. Peace and Love, Layne