I forget to completely close doors…closets, bedrooms, cabinets, and drawers. It’s something I conditioned myself to intentionally avoid doing having grown up in a very old, creaky house with a mother who slept ever so lightly. I hate loud noises, as my beloved professor of percussion, Tom Morgan, oft proclaimed (#irony). I don’t like disturbing a quiet household…it pains me to imagine robbing rest or comfort from someone by closing a door or slamming a drawer shut.
A number of months ago, for a small group meeting, we used pet peeves as an icebreaker for the evening. We shared what annoys us most, shedding light on all sorts of things that tend to irk us, send our blood pressure up, make us squirm. I noticed some patterns. We really enjoyed tossing bad drivers under the bus (pun intended), commiserating about waiting in long lines, and generally (vehemently) agreeing on the kinds of things that “those people” do to annoy us. It actually showed our tendency to blame others for our temper or insecurity lies just below the surface, but we tried to cover that ugliness with some laughter.
I couldn’t think of anything in particular that annoys me, so I tried to playfully call out my wife on some small issue. I realize now, she could have quickly cited my lack of shutting things as her pet peeve but she kindly attacked third graders at her job instead. However, I hear almost daily a request to close the closet door or shut the cabinets after gathering dinner ingredients. I always think I’m doing awesome when I remember to close the fridge!
I’ve realized that instead of focusing on our pet peeves, continually adding to a seemingly never-ending list of complaints about others or about uncontrollable circumstances, maybe I should try and discover what others see as my most annoying habits. Maybe I could benefit by taking the log out of my own eye (quoting Jesus here) before attempting to convince myself that others are the cause of my problems or that I’m a victim of the day’s challenges.
Of course, this could be a silly exercise. I’ve learned that plodding down the paths of self-help or self-improvement can lead to an existential dead end. I’ve tried to pursue perfection for the sake of security or pride only to find myself more empty than when I started. Perfection is both elusive and ultimately depressing.
But, perhaps this could reveal some serious issues in my behavior. Maybe I could discover some of the hurdles or barriers that turn people off to the life I really could be sharing with them.
Have you ever thought in this way? Have you ever considered that maybe your unawareness, insensitivity, or plain obstinance really bothers others? Have you ever considered that your actions may be failing to show love to those around you?
Why don’t you go ahead and clue me in to things I have done, repeatedly do, or used to consistently do, that peeve you. For me, I’ll call them iPeeves – the things I do that peeve others. This is the internet and Apple is the standard. So, iPeeves. #iPeeves. A wave of owning up to our obstinance and repeated offenses will catch on.
Comment anything that comes to mind, anonymously if preferred. I want to consider these, both silly and serious, and may implement them as resolutions or habits to break/change/mold/improve. Again, this isn’t about the perfection of self, but the loving of others. Starting with my wife and those pesky and loud doors!