Today, my one-word writing prompt is Peace.
Initially, I selected “Agitation” as the prompt, but I didn’t want to focus only on agitation. Agitation’s existence is always in relationship to the agitator, right? It is birthed from something in the heart, a memory or a lie we believe, and grows into a thought—leading to an intention—leading to a behavior, which leads to a result and eventually, to the next scene in the narrative. My personal desire is to always have the next scene after agitation to be peace.
Here’s what it looks like in my life:
Agitated Behavior (this morning)— I am a person who likes process. I like to plan things and somewhat order my day. I am not necessarily a list person, but I enjoy scheduling my immediate tasks into something I can understand and pursue. I think part of this attention to procedure is my attempt to protect the scarce free time I can cobble together. I don’t want to sacrifice sacred moments of imagination/contemplation at the altar of unorganized busyness. It’s how I am. I accept that. It’s my light. I know that not everybody is like me…and that is fine. I want to play to my strengths and respect my personal nature in an effort to be as authentic and loving as possible. I want to express my light into the world, not somebody else’s.
Anyway, this morning I was formulating a plan to accomplish all of my beginning-of-the-month tasks. Procedurally, my misstep was not consulting with my wife who had plans also. Components of each of our plans were mutually exclusive, which meant, something had to go. Eventually, it all worked out, but my initial reaction swayed toward agitation. Not anger. Not sulking. Nothing ill-intended–an inappropriate acting out. My plans needed to quickly be adjusted.
I got serious, which can be misconstrued by others and myself as an agitated state, which actually does agitate me. Thinking that I am agitated, agitates me, which agitates me even more for thinking that I am agitated when I’m just being serious. It’s a lie about myself that I picked-up somewhere—my seriousness was never validated, but my humor always was. Hmmmm.
When I go into this serious/agitated state, I like to be given time to process. I don’t think well without time. I am horribly sarcastic, and snappy…which could be mistaken by an objective observer as me having the ability to grasp a quick idea. It’s not. I prefer to settle myself and analyze how my plans have changed and what that means in terms of “what I have to do” versus “what I want to do.”
That’s who I am. So, this morning, in that moment, I became quiet and “went inside” myself to reorient my schedule for the day and prioritize my tasks. My wife, who is more naturally relational and less analytical, immediately sensed the conflict within me and began an attempt to accommodate her plans (which were more time-sensitive than mine) in an effort to reduce what she perceived as a dissonant moment. I didn’t want her to change her plans, I just wanted a moment to think and change mine and I told her in a direct manner. (Not angry. Not loud.) Direct. Serious. When I’m not serious, I’m kind of a joker.
The necessity of having to speak to her about what I viewed as a nonessential desire to accommodate my plans in an effort to preserve balance in our relationship, caused me to again step out of my personal planning office, which frustrated me because I couldn’t adequately explain myself. At that moment, in my mind, all I sensed was chaos. I don’t have the proper words, tone, or inflection to source when I’m trying to find my way out of confusion. She began to perceive herself as the reason for my agitation and…
Then we laughed.
We realized what was going on. People are different. Been there done that. Not our first rodeo.
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