I’m typically a pretty mild mannered person. There are a few people and a few causes I’ll go to war for but usually, I’m right here in the middle. Right here. Just chilling. Eating on a little snack or something. Not getting riled up at every turn. Maybe rolling my eyes every now and then but ultimately, maintaining a cool demeanor.
So imagine me playing flag football. What you say? Why would I be doing that? Excellent question. It was a peer pressure situation. Anyway, just imagine it. I’m out there with my little $16 cleats from the boys’ section of Burlington Coat Factory. And you know BCF is messy than a mug so I found one cleat and then I had to search all up and down another aisle until I found the other one. I think that demonstrates my commitment to the game. Yeah so I’m out there with my cheap cleats and a few days of practice under my belt like I know I’m about to go ham (upgrade from bologna) on this team.
The problem is, I don’t really default to ham like that. Like, I’m not naturally aggressive. My teammates kept talking to me like “listen, you need to push up on the other girls a little bit” and I really thought I could do it but when opportunities came for me to snatch a flag or “accidentally” bump up into another girl, I . . . well I . . . I politely allowed her to pass in front of me as not to inconvenience her journey to the goal line. *face palm
Some of my other teammates were very aggressive – sometimes a bit too aggressive probably. I wondered if we were playing the same game or playing a game at all. Like, was I still in this co-ed, not even all that competitive flag football league or had I been transported to the NFL where my million dollar contract hinged on my ability to stop a 90 pound girl from getting to the end zone? I was out there doing my usual. Standing right here in the middle. Focused but just chilling. Serious but wondering where my snack was. Not getting riled up. Not going ham. Going tuna at best.
It bothered me for a few days. The idea that I came across as nice or soft bothered me. It was probably compounded by the fact that I had been in a few work/civic meetings that week where ideas were being passed around and I had nothing to offer. I literally sat through at least two different meetings and said nothing. You know that moment when you were in geometry in 9th grade and every single person in the class knew what the teacher was talking about but you literally thought she might be speaking German and you had decided to take French that year so you just sat there listening for a few English words that would make you feel better? That’s the moment I had in those meetings. It’s also similar to the moment I had on the football field. Like how in the world is everyone else good at this but me? Why am I not aggressive or loud or dominant? For a person who is at least decent at most things, why am I struggling here?
Finally, it hit me. I remembered. There’s power in restraint. My emotions belong to me. I am in control of my thoughts and opinions. I’m in control of my feelings. I’m certainly in control of my actions. I am aggressive in the moments that require it. In the moments that don’t require it, I chill. I speak when I bring value to what’s being said. If not, I listen. I wield whatever influence or authority I posses when the occasion calls for it. In the times that it is unnecessary for me to be aggressive, I am not. I am kind (not that those two things are mutually exclusive or opposites but you get me). Not only because I personally find it to be more Christ-like but because it is more like me. That’s who I am. It’s not weak or soft. It’s my natural tendency. And for everything I think I could improve, I promise I love being myself.
Ok now when y’all see me going ham on somebody in the street because they innocently stepped on my J’s, please don’t refer back to this blog post. I’m not always kind. I’m not always meek either. Totally ran into a girl at the last flag football game (I looked back to make sure she was ok though). I am typically “kind” and that takes strength. When you are in a decidedly tense situation or dealing with a person who makes your blood boil, it takes more strength to remain kind than it does to pop off. A good popping off is definitely warranted sometimes but I’d much rather not if I can help it.
So, I’m #teamkindness. I’m cool with that.