Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Little Reflection on Confrontation

“Remember, there’s valet parking.”

This was the last exhortation from my husband before I left this morning for our church’s women’s brunch. Neal was part of the planning process and wanted to make sure I took advantage of all the country club promised in our package.

So, I pulled up in our Honda, stocked to the brim with boxes of copy paper, old mailers and Monster drinks, and asked the guy in the white polo if there was valet parking.

He said no.

But he’d pick me up in his golf cart after I parked, if I wanted.

I should be so thankful.

After the brunch, the ladies left in droves. As some friends and I made our way out to the parking lot, I beheld this scene:

Four young, polo-wearing, tennis-shoe clad guys, chilling on their golf carts, under the shaded entrance. While my girlfriends, in their heels and dry-clean-only blouses, braved the 90 degree heat on the merciless trek out to their cars. I think Ashley had some contractions.

If I were to say my consequent actions were perfect, I’d be lying.

Here’s my first mistake.

I forgot the principle of Audience. I knew we paid for valet parking. I knew the country club was inefficient, to say the least. I didn’t need 5 of my girlfriends to confirm that fact. And, when asked by Mark, the head golf-cart dude, what my problem was, I knew better than to tell him that he and his buddies were being lazy.

I know the principle of Audience is to bring your beef to the one in charge. You’re supposed to be solution-oriented.

The second mistake I made was to disregard, momentarily, the Principle of Leave Them with Their Dignity. Regardless of who’s wrong and who’s right, it’s my responsibility, as a representative of Christ, to preserve everyone’s dignity.

I haven’t always been faithful to the principle of Audience or to the principle of Leave Them with Dignity.

Like a month ago, when I yelled at the man at the check-in desk at University Hospital. If I had been faithful to the principles of Audience and Dignity, I would have quietly approached his throne and humbly inquired why he insisted on over-exerting his authority on all who entered his domain. I didn't.

After the “scene” with the golf cart dudes and my friend going into labor (not really) I can say that I got back on track with my Principles. I maturely discussed the problem with the manager in his office. I used words like “expectations,” “clarify,” “understand” and “going forward.” It was all very solution-oriented and business-like. I even spoke with Mark on the way out. I wish you could have seen me.

But, you didn’t. You probably saw me earlier, struggling for some balance between achieving what’s due and acting like a Christian.

I think the two can co-exist. I still have some work to do.

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