I just got off the phone with my sister, Brynn. You may recall the posts I’ve written in the past recounting Brynn’s antics as she walks out the challenge of showing God’s unconditional love to others. Brynn’s tales often provide hilarity, but, more importantly, as I watch Brynn’s dedication to achieving the outcome of loving unconditionally, I am constantly inspired to keep moving towards my goal of loving others unconditionally.
I thoroughly appreciate discussing with Brynn the occasional struggle she has to consistently show U Love. Seeing her work through these difficulties, makes me feel that I am not alone in trying to master the U Love ideals. It’s not always easy to love unconditionally. There are some situations in which we might simply feel we cannot love the other person unconditionally, even though we know we should. I am very grateful to Brynn for allowing me to use her stories as an example of how to overcome challenges in this regard.
In our recent conversation, Brynn discussed with me her visceral response to my two recent posts, The Lo Mein Dilemma, and Parting Was Not Sweet Sorrow. (To read the posts, click on the titles). In these posts, I described an altercation my friend, Jim, and I had with two ladies at a Chinese restaurant. These posts triggered in Brynn a powerful memory of a nasty encounter she once had in a movie theatre.
Brynn was seeking more details about the circumstances surrounding my restaurant debacle, because she was strongly relating to Jim’s negative response to the disagreeable women. The memory of her own situation was not pleasant, so she asked for additional specifics of how we resolved the matter. I was curious to hear her incident, too. “Tell me all about it,” I said, egging her on.
As her story goes, a number of years ago, Brynn was sitting in a movie theatre with some friends while watching the previews before the main attraction. Brynn became increasingly agitated as she listened to the noisy conversation coming from the people in the seats behind her. It’s always a touchy situation when you have neighbors in a theatre who don’t seem to understand the courtesy of being quiet.
Not one to overlook a problem of this nature, Brynn promptly turned around to the people making the noise and asked in a surly tone, “Will you be talking this loud through the whole movie like you are doing through the previews?” (Rebecca had no qualms about telling me that I tend to do the exact same thing at times. She concluded that this must be a family trait, as unpleasant as it is!)
Brynn’s remark didn’t go over well, not with the people who were talking loudly, nor with her friends. Not surprisingly, Brynn’s comment elicited some unkind remarks from the people behind her, to which Brynn responded with more harshness. The heated conversation escalated until Brynn’s friends intervened and quieted the hot mess down by showing everyone kindness in order to reinstate peace.
When the movie was over, Brynn’s friends, who were Southerners and strong Christians, chastised her for being so unloving to the noisy movie goers. “Couldn’t you have shown them the love of God and be kind? Don’t you think that would have been a better way to handle the situation?” they queried. (On a personal note, I remember that my grandfather used to tell Brynn and me that we can succeed better in life using honey rather than vinegar. I guess Brynn forgot that principle for the moment. I know I haven’t always applied it either.)
Brynn admitted to me that she was embarrassed by what her friends had said to her. “It was like they were a mirror reflecting my behavior back to me,” said Brynn. “I didn’t know that was how I came across to others. I just knew I didn’t like what I saw in myself at that moment.”
“Nevertheless, I didn’t want to concede the point. I wasn’t sure if the motivation behind their correction was because they were polite Southerners, or if it was the Godly way to behave. I am, in essence, always looking to emulate God in every situation. So, after giving it much thought, I decided it didn’t matter the reason. It never hurts to be kind to others regardless of their behavior.” (Right on, Brynn!)
Brynn then went on to tell me about another similar incident she had a year or so later that was even more fraught with difficulties. I’ll tell you all about it next week, along with the inspiring conclusion to this U Love challenge. You won’t want to miss the next installment of the “Brynn Files!”
See you next time, and please join our U Love chain here!