Everyone has a BS threshold. For some of us, it's pretty high. We can take it when someone cuts in line in front of us, cuts us off at the exit, slams the door in our face. We can handle when the child says, "The tooth fairy made me do it," or hands us the sticky remote control, professing, "But it came that way." Others of us have a lower tolerance. Our favorite phrases are "really?" and "are you kidding me?" But still, we only hint at what we really think. We do hold that part back or try to gently redirect with questions or subtle suggestions. And then there comes a moment when we are so compromised with other stuff that the filter just turns off. Completely off.
And that's where I am right now. The filter is off. I don't care if you destroy your knee tripping over the sword I told you to leave in the house. I will laugh at you if you looked funny doing it, and I will yell at you to stop screaming (hypocritical, I know) when your bawling gives me a headache. I will ask you if you arms are painted on when you ask me why I didn't clean, and I will tell you exactly what I think of your outfit if you ask me--and where you can go if you don't like mine. Because the filter is off, do you understand? O-F-F. Off.
And that isn't always a bad thing I realized last night as I scrubbed my living room carpet last night until I blistered my hands. Physical activity is oddly cathartic for me, cleansing, in fact, as is speaking my mind. And even though the filter is off, I have noticed that I haven't noticeably offended the people I thought I would. My burst of laughter at my student's embarrassing story didn't seem to embarrass him as much as it made him proud of his ability to write a good story. Admitting my frustrations had my friend in stitches, not tears. And even my little son, who can always find something to whine about, (eventually) caved to the "I-don't-care-what-your-problem-is. If-I-can't-do-anything-about-it,-SHUT-UP!"
And it teaches me something about myself, something I'm constantly struggling with: the dirtiness of my heart and the filters that cover it, not clean it.
Not to preach, but you know I always start at the Bible, and in Matthew 15, Jesus says, 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
Now, of course, to hear certain people talk (our First Lady included), eating inorganic food will defile us, and absolutely, according to my mother and most mothers, so will eating with unwashed hands. Furthermore, while fast food may clog our arteries, it does very little in itself to our metaphysical hearts.
In actuality, I think the more rules we have the more problems we face because in the end rules are filters.
And we don't need filters. We need clean hearts.
What I have noticed this time around is that the heart spillage is not as bad as it was last time around. And that's a good thing maybe--although, trust me, it still has a long way to go. We're talking about an upgrade from sewage to run off. We're not up to drinking water yet.
But some big changes have happened--attitude adjustments, changes in diets, letting go. And these just might be working. But that might be the topic of another post.