In my space, my relationships, and my communications.
I need order to thrive.
A teacher once explained, “To you, order is holy. It’s literally holy order.”
This revelation banged like a gong of truth in my solar plexus.
So that’s why order is so precious to me! I thought.
This was a great stroke of personal clarity.
I should mention that I never confuse order with perfection. I don’t expect or even desire perfection, because it’s an ever receding finish line that can never be reached.
Order, on the other hand, is quite possible. It just means, to me anyway, that my life is reasonably organized, though to my dismay things may fall through the cracks.
(e.g. If I owe you an email — I apologize!)
I endeavor to maintain a standard of respect, love, and integrity in all that I do, particularly in my communications.
Recently, on Christmas night to be precise, I suddenly found myself in a heated, quite messy moment with a beloved family member over travel plans.
As our points-of-view clashed, I entered into a confrontationalesque* state like Carrie Bradshaw enters a high-end shoe store, with verve.
[*confrontationalesque: def.: contained anger + frustration, but not completely blowing one’s stack].
It wasn’t orderly, and unlike Carrie Bradshaw, it wasn’t pretty.
It was certainly wasn’t Christmasy and we’d had such a nice holiday up until this moment.
This verbal muck seemed like it might ruin the mellow magic of the day.
The whole scene was over a hot Hulk minute and we retreated to our respective corners.
I didn’t know quite where this came from. Something was said by my loved one which triggered a decades old nerve that I had put in a mental junk drawer and almost forgotten.
The way I chose to respond created the tension.
Yes, one could say that what was said initially created the tension, but I believe that we are equally accountable for how we react and the choices we make in these moments.
It’s the ol’ light a candle instead of cursing the darkness approach.
Suddenly, this micro-fued erupted to the surface like fermented old New Coke, creating disharmony on what is supposed to be a peaceful, joy-filled celebration.
On top of this, like melted Velveeta cheese, was the fact that I allowed myself to get upset and storm off like people on reality TV.
“What am I? Some sort of Real Housewife in sensible sleepwear?” I wondered as I cloistered myself in my bedroom to regroup.
It was already after 11 p.m. and most of the household was in bed for the night.
I judged myself negatively for this behavior that I was certain I had outgrown, but simultaneously, I was convinced that I had a case to be angry.
After I had cooled off, I knew two things: 1.) Whether I thought I was right or not ultimately did not matter, because peace was the greater good. 2.) I could not let this mess fester overnight.
I approached my beloved family member and apologized for getting angry.
Thankfully, they were receptive and we began to see each others’ points of view, which were not really so different.
What I started to realize as I explained my process was I was actually more hurt by their behavior than vexed, but was masking my true feelings with a sort of B.S. bravado.
Apologies we exchanged on both sides and a conversation commenced that lasted until the wee hours (and by wee, I mean 3).
Through this pivotal conversation, we were able to reach a deeper level of understanding and intimacy that would not have been possible without our argument.
By morning, I felt a sense of peace and harmony return, feeling much closer to my beloved family member than I had in a long time.
I soon realized that without our conflict, we would have stayed on the light, chatty safer surface roads of our relationship, and not risked the scarier fast-paced highway of authentic personal sharing.
In the end, this new closeness we unearthed felt like a true Christmas gift, arriving in perfect order.