But this civility thing is so easy to forget, especially with my emotional personality. Before I know it I usually mouth off about complaints, frustrations and get impatient with the rest of the world. So when I actually have a moment when I use civility, it comes as a pleasant surprise.
One instance happened during Holy Week, which around here is an extremely stressful week with that Mass and this service and so on. I was on the phone with someone who was extremely agitated and upset and was yelling at me. Usually I would have gotten off the phone and complained to everyone how unfair it was this person was yelling at me for something I had no control over.
But for once I found I just let it go by and assumed his holy week was going a little crazy too. Now I can tell you of any number of people who are able to do that kind of thing all the time. But this was a very new way of dealing with this kind of situation for me! And I did it. Once!
There have been a couple moments while driving it happened too. I told myself to take a big breath and sit back and listen to the radio instead of getting upset and mad. Could it be after 16 weeks I am finally wearing down? Can civility be retrieved in my life?
But have you ever noticed when you are trying really hard to become a better person, the devil finds out about it? I think he has conversations with his minions like the conversations in C.W. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”. And it would go something like this:
Devil: “Number One, get upstairs and see about Lisa.”
Number One: “That woman in the church office? “Devil: “Yep, that’s the one. She’s been up to something lately.”
Number One: “Up to what?”
Devil: “Well, you know we used to get her with her lack of patience and that wonderful sailor vocabulary? Well, she started with that ugly civility experiment in January.”
Number One: “Civility? Again? I thought we had that beat? None of the politicians took it up, and it’s been totally lost in the United States.” Wrings his hands smiling… “And you should see the streets! Best thing humans ever invented was the car…they scream and yell and cuss at each other…”
Devil: “Be quiet! Anyway, she thinks she is beating our system on this civility thing. She’s actually working on it as a project and worse yet,” he leans in to whisper, “She’s been blogging about it.”Number One slaps his hand to his head: “Oh no, not blogging.”
Devil, sighing: “Yes, blogging. Why did we let that get through? And I thought that Internet thing would serve our purposes. “Number One: “But it does, with pornography, sexual predators, gossiping and people being hateful. It’s been wonderful!”
Devil: “Not with some of this blogging stuff. Some humans are actually helping each other by blogging. That reminds me I need to get someone on that… anyway…get up there and disturb her peace again.”Number One: “She’s always falls for that I-think-I’m-working-hard-but-no-body-ever-notices thing where she gets tired and resentful…”
Devil: “True, she’s an easy mark on that one. Let’s hit her on the worrywart-mom front again, throw in some tornados and earthquakes, kids being far from home, you know the routine. We can always find another avenue to break up her relationship with the Enemy.”Number One: “Ok, Boss, I got her file.” He laughs, “I wouldn’t worry about her working on this civility thing, she’s got a list a mile long of other stuff we get her with. In fact…”
Devil: “Spare me the details Number One I already know her file. Just get on it for God’s sake…Ack!!!! I can’t believe I said that!” Loud thunder reverberates as he hits his head against nearby brimstone.