Sunday, August 4, 2013

Reacting to Complaints

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Reacting to Complaints

I hear people complain when it is “too cold”.  I hear them complain when it is “too hot”.  You know something like the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story where she had tried Papa and Mama Bears porridge.  But you seldom hear people complain about the “Just Right”  kind of weather… when it is not too hot nor too cold.

These days in our part of Canada it is just right – perfect actually!

A little while ago I was in contact with a “Help Line” person that lived in Mumbai, India.  He asked me how I was doing today.  My response was, “I am too hot and the weather is miserable.  How about you?  What is the weather like where you live?”

There was a stunned silence. He had never been asked that kind of question before I guess… yet he did finally say, “It is always hot. It is the same every day. It does not change. This is India and we love it this way.”

The poor guy had never been trained to complain about the weather. Only in Canada do we train our people to complain about weather I guess.

What if… what we had was always okay?  What if we never complained about what is happening and just enjoyed it… maybe we could always just be thankful?  What would change in our world?

What if we would do that just for one day?   A “No Complaining Day” – Hmmm?

My Mom is old now – very old.  In her oldness she doesn’t like lots of things. In fact in her oldness she tends to complain and not do some things because of not liking things the way they are around her. I am pretty sure that it comes with being 92… or it might have been there when she was younger and never showed up until her age ripened to that “good old stage in life”.

It aint easy satisfying an old person that is not happy with the way things are around her.

If it is too bright or too dark it is not good. If it’s too hot or too cold it is not right. If it is too hot and I open the windows to cool it down it is too windy. If it’s too fast she wants it slower.  If it’s too hurried she wants us not to rush and moans when I “yell at her”(interpret that to mean tell her what should be done next).

Do I sound like I am talking poorly of my mother?  Nope not at all.  Likely just being honest is not something others have done when telling about their aging mothers!  I am just being honest – honestly I am!

But it seems that complaining can rub off on others around the one that is the complainer. It is funny when that happens – but not if you are the one that the people are complaining about.

Yesterday in Costco I met a complainer that I have known for 15 years of living in Peterborough. She used to attend the church that I Pastored… gulp I can say that I was her pastor. She complained about lots back then and at times I was the target of her complaints.  (Oh boy bad memory time). I had not seen her in about 11 years… and at that moment our carts bumped into each other coming around a busy aisle.  She looked directly at me, her eyes fluttered slightly, no smile at all… there was an immediate recognition… I grinned at her and she looked immediately away. Oh boy… no change there!

I thought about my own complaining… not my Mom’s, not the lady at Costco, but my own.  I don’t want to be that way… or treat other people or what they do as objects/targets of my complaints.

In a public bathroom I was in I saw the toilet running over and beginning to fill the small room with some fouls stuff floating. I told an employee of the predicament… and thanked them for helping us all.  The person smiled and thank me.

What kind of a world would we have if everyone stopped complaining?

Of for that day to come soon. 

BUT what will happen if these people get to Heaven?  And there is nothing to complain about – what will they ever do?  Can you imagine someone having enough nerve to stand up to God and say boldly, “Excuse me SIR… I would like to inform you that I don’t like the way this place is being run!”

But maybe complainers won’t be there... ahem…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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