It’s the time of year when I can eat my weight in watermelon.
Seriously. I’ve already polished off 6 so I’m probably over half way there!
Suh-mer-TIME! Although it doesn’t happen near enough, I love that I can get in the car and be at the beach in two hours. #happyplace!
We’ve had our share of water adventures and a few close encounters of the water creature kind: jellyfish, crabs, dolphins and a few stingrays. Sharks are out there—we know it. Fishermen catch smaller ones and you always imagine the bigger guys are much further out.
I was confident of this until a friend posted her video of a 4 or 5-foot “little guy” swimming along the shore at a VERY POPULAR local vacation spot. Now I’m not about to live in fear but I’ll certainly be more aware of my surroundings next time I jump in to body surf!
Awareness. Navigating hazards… while actively living and participating—that’s just life, right?
Is it me?
Because it seems like conflicts abound with always something else to be more aware of, navigate through or avoid. Some days it’s easier.
Other days…I’m just edgy.
Agitated. Easily provoked.
Because, you see… I’m not always a very nice person.
No, really. I might seem all good and Christian-y but I confess — It takes a lot of effort sometimes. It’s not always what I say or do. Mostly, it’s the yuck I’m thinking which, thankfully never clears my lips.
But it’s there.
And Lawd, shutting up can be a chore.
I’m a born-again Jersey girl. Quick with my words, I didn’t grow up Southern-sugarcoating anything. I could be quite fluent in several dialects of sarcasm and cut people to ribbons with my sharp tongue. Nasty.
Knowing this about myself, I must be honest because satan knows this about me too. I must stay on my guard and on my face before the Lord at all times.
As a writer, I’m called to carefully steward my words, serving them with love and grace—“seasoned with salt”, using them to heal, preserve and flavor the lives of others.
This is a difficult day for words and their stewardship. Never before has information travelled so quickly from mouth and mind over a matter of milliseconds to the whole virtual world.
For the record, I’m SO grateful to God that Facebook, Twitter and Insta-Everything were not around when I was younger because I might have been stupid enough to…. yeah.
You know the drill: Someone hurts your feelings, your BFF or insults your team. Suddenly, you’re tempted to dig a shallow, 140-character grave or update your status with just. the. right. words for that “special someone” and the fight is ON.
It’s an all out snark attack.
The scent of fresh blood draws others into the ring fueling a virtual snark-nado— a feeding frenzy where everyone’s “special” personality is on display.
It’s not just the kiddies. Full-grown adults bait and bite one another–online, in the halls and aisles, on the streets…. we do this.
As a Christian, I’d love to say I never feel this way. I can’t. I get hurt and angry too. Misery loves company, desires sympathy and sometimes seeks revenge.
With God’s strength, I must fight the impulse to strike back and choose not to give in. I try to remember these five things:
People are friends not food.
Even if I don’t agree. Even if they’re wrong. Even if nothing changes, I can yield the right of way and swim on.
Snark unto others as you would have them snark unto you.
My blood may boil til I sweat. My jaw may ache from the effort of keeping my mouth shut. My fingers can twitch and burn from resisting the temptation to push “send” but I don’t have to go “there”. Most likely, I need to take a break and get out of the water.
Often, these things stem from deeper hurts others are experiencing and their only outlet is to attack or deflect their pain onto another. Sometimes, defensiveness is a sign of something we’ve not fully dealt with ourselves. Pray. Spend time with that accountability person I’ve been telling you to find!
Come to the surface.
Lighten up. Maybe I’m taking myself too seriously and I need to laugh off whatever’s tripping my trigger.
Maybe it’s legit.
There’s a more mature response: in private, one on one.
Public humiliation always backfires. I’ve never seen someone survive a snark attack fully intact. Truthfully, I’m far less likely to pitch a snarkaleptic fit than I once was. Some things don’t wear on me the way they used to.
Maybe I’m older and getting wiser?
Maybe it’s grace applied.
Or maybe…life’s too short and there’s still watermelon in the fridge.
Possibly, all three.