Last week was a hellish week at work. I’m working with a small team of consultants on a multimedia training project for a large state agency that has spent a lot of money for us to do things that none of us have ever done before. And we have to do it in a ridiculously short period of time. I have a state sponsor who basically wants us to produce animated videos that look like Shrek and Finding Nemo. And I have a hard time telling when my dining room walls have changed from beige to maroon. I may not be the ideal candidate to develop a visually-oriented training course.
So people are tense. I am tense. And when I am tense, and when I have some clues about some of the ways we should go, I tend to force feed those clues to the clueless. Here, have a clue, and eat it quickly because we don’t have time to waste. And it then inevitably follows, as night follows day, that I am reprimanded for not playing well with others. Back off. You’re too aggressive. Check your ego at the door. These are messages I’ve heard most of my adult life. They’re nothing new. They are, in fact, very, very old.
Of course, there is truth in those messages. And when I hear them, I usually react with a mixture of baffled befuddlement, contrition, sorrow, guilt, and an overwhelming feeling of being misunderstood. Look, I don’t want to steamroll you. I want to be your friend. But you’re clueless, and we don’t have time to be clueless. This is honestly how my mind works.
So I’ve been praying about this. My weekend was spent in prayer and frantic writing activity, alternating between being extremely productive and moping around the house and feeling like an asshole. I don’t know how to gently and politely tell people that they’re wrong and I’m right. I don’t even know if it’s possible to do that. But I do know that my communication style frequently doesn’t work. For some reason people tend to get upset if you tell them they’re clueless, even if you couch it in terms of you’re a swell human being, and a child of God, dearly beloved and of infinite value, everybody get together try and love one another right now, and those are cute photos of your kids, but you’re still wrong in this case, Bucko. I just wish I knew how to communicate that in less inflammatory ways. And I wish I knew why my every attempt to douse the flames still seems to result in a 5-alarm conflagration.
I really do. And so I prayed about it this weekend, a lot. Other people prayed for me about it. I’m sick of this. It creates resentment in other people, and it makes me feel like a pariah and a jerk. So if you are so moved, pray that God will change me. I don’t know how to change myself. I tend to get in trouble when I think I have a clue, even when I really do. And for better or worse, here is an area where I don’t have a clue. If you can do anything with that, God, go for it.