A pastor had a church member, let’s call him Paul, who ran a concrete business. You know, sidewalks, foundations, patios, whatever. And this Paul loved young people. He taught Sunday school and was always right there with the donation for camps and field trips and whatnot. So, one day the pastor happens to be meeting someone near a project Paul’s working on, and the pastor drops by to see this loyal and generous member of his congregation.
Well, the pastor can hear Paul yelling before he’s even out of the car. Screaming. Cussing that just burns the skin right off the tender ears of the pastor. I mean Paul is threatening to boil somebody alive if he catches him. See our buddy Paul has spent the day laying a sidewalk in front of a new house and the pastor has arrived just as three boys on bicycles have ridden their bikes the length of the wet cement.
So, pastor sizes up the situation, strides over to Paul and puts his arm around his shoulder and says, “Whoa now, hold on. This surprises me, these threats to these youngsters. You’re always so generous to the youth of our church, donating your time and money.”
“Well, but you see,” says our man Paul, “the thing of it is. I love children in the abstract. But NOT in the concrete.”
Why did I tell you this long and tired joke?
Because that’s how I feel about a good many folks these days. People who are complicated and wounded and just plain high maintenance and annoying as hell in the concrete. Seriously. I’ve always thought I’d make a wonderful saint. As long as I didn’t have to deal with other people.
Come on, you know you’ve had that same thought.
Sitting in my room, sniffing incense and counting my breaths, hell, I’m the freaking queen of tranquility. Four minutes after I release my last Om and glide into the general vicinity of other people and I’m a raving bitch.
“You do see the common denominator here?” My husband asks.
“Sure.” I nod my head vigorously, amazed that he’s pinpointed the problem so quickly. “Irritating people need to stay out of my way.”