Our mail lady refuses to wave at me. I mean, seriously. She will not wave, she will not say hello, and she will not smile. I have made it somewhat of a personal mission of mine to make her love me. Yes, I said it. I need the love and approval of my mail lady. The other day I saw her at the gas station, of all places, and I thought I had found my moment. It was an out-of-context opportunity. I just knew that she would be so thrown off by seeing me out of my normal place that she would be caught off guard and would wave and smile despite her obvious disdain for my face.
So, I smiled the biggest, toothy grin I could muster, and I waved in a nonchalant, yet slightly desperate way as she started to back her little mail truck up to the pump. She appeared to look right at me. Yet, she sat, stone-faced. Not even a hint of joy in her mysteriously aloof eyes to make me feel that deep down she doesn’t hate me. I felt a little humiliated, and I got in my car. I waited for her to get out of her truck, but she stayed inside, just sitting there.
Well, then the conspiracy theories started in my brain. The thought occurred to me that she must be sitting in her little truck waiting for me to leave so that she doesn’t have to interact with me. I began imagining all of the various reasons that she could dislike me. I actually began to worry that the fairly mediocre giftcard we had given her for Christmas was expired when she went to use it. I thought, What if she thinks I purposely gave her an expired giftcard? I even texted Chad and told him I thought she was holding a grudge over her Christmas gift. I was only half joking. I was starting to obsess over this lady’s bad attitude. I was stressed out about the imagined situation that I had created in my mind.
In fact, the mail lady probably has a one-track mind. She is probably focused on mail when she is working. She may not have even been looking at me at the gas station. She may have been sitting in her truck texting before she pumped her gas. Mail ladies do text. Mail ladies also get distracted by various issues going on in their lives. Mail ladies DO NOT HAVE TO ENJOY TALKING TO ME. Does that mean she hates me? Or that she doesn’t like me? Or even that she notices me at all?
I realized that I was being sensitive.
Now, there is good sensitive and bad sensitive.
Don’t talk about the baby’s weird diaper in front of someone who vomits easily.
Don’t ask your pastor if he noticed how many people slept through his sermon.
Do ask the little old lady at church how her fungus-infested cat is doing.
Do give your husband the opportunity to cry in private when his team loses.
Get offended because the shaky-handed new employee at McDonald’s “purposely” forgot your ketchup.
Get up a gossip campaign among your friends over something you think someone might have been thinking once.
Choose to dislike people you’ve never spoken to because they never speak to you.
Get crazy about the fact that your mail lady hates you when she has never indicated in any way that thinks about you one bit.
Oh, man. I have been attributing feelings to my mail lady that she has probably never had in her life. I have given myself a complex about it. I have had unpleasant feelings about her when she has really and truly done nothing wrong at all. She has faithfully delivered my mail. She hasn’t left dog poop or half-eaten watermelon or rotten tomatoes in my mailbox. She has never hollered obscenities at my cheery red door as she stops by. She has never even glared at me or told me to quit smiling at her or stuck out her tongue. She just does her job. She is neutral. And as far as I know she has no ill feelings toward me at all. Only in my sensitive-in-a-bad-way mind.
And, I know I’m not the only one. We live in an overly-sensitive society. We all feel that everyone is looking at us, intending to slight us, purposely hurting us. We are so hyper offended. In fact, we are self-centered. We are spoiled. And we are more interested in our own feelings about things than in other people.
If I start devoting as much time to praying for my mail lady as I have fretting about what I don’t even know she is thinking about me, imagine how I could be a blessing in her life. Even if she never speaks to me. I can still bless her. And I should.
That is Christianity! Love. Love, the Bible tells us, not obsessing over all the ways we’ve been offended this week.
Let’s try something new. Let’s give others the benefit of the doubt. Let’s let the reserved mail ladies of the world be who they are, and let’s not get mad about it! The next time we start feeling that prideful sensitivity bubbling up inside of us, let’s remember that that thinking is poison. It ruins relationships. It hurts others. And it causes us to make much of ourselves.
Now, if you are mad at me after reading this, you are probably in sensitive-in-a-bad-way mode. You believe I am talking about you. You are certain that I am using this post as a way to send you a personal and offensive message. But, I’m not.
I’m just delivering the mail.