Just as I was going to bed last night I got a phone call. The woman on the other end called me by name, gushed about how it’s been ten long years since she’s been in town, and when she finally identified herself I still was fuzzy on why I was getting this call. Then she asks to speak to my son Joe.
I don’t have a son Joe.
It turns out she is looking for the school-aged son of my ex’s current wife, and thinks he might live here. (What?!?) Additionally, she is calling on behalf of the church we escaped from last year. Then she shares how much my neighbor really hates me. Because I got divorced. (Yes, all those actual words were used. It’s also been over 8 years.) I am not making any of this up.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation of balancing grace with defending your boundaries? Here’s how my internal conversation went:
Grace: Okay, this woman is a little off-kilter, let’s be understanding and just end this conversation.
Warrior: This is an invasion. I need to protect and defend. Now.
Grace: Well yes, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, she probably feels pretty awkward and is looking for an escape.
Warrior: I don’t care, she Just. Keeps. Going. I’ve had enough, and she needs to stop. Now.
Grace: You’re doing a great job keeping in check, I keep politely shutting her down, I’m sure she’ll bow out now. Okay, maybe now. Hmm, likely now? Wait–no way: is she really talking about and asking after my kids…?!
Warrior: That’s it–out of my way.
Grace: Here’s your sword.
At this point in the conversation Warrior bluntly said that I am not discussing my family, and that this conversation was over. The woman on the phone finally got the message, apologized for bothering me, and Grace was able to not hang up in her face.
It is not a question of either being kind or defending your boundaries, the two are the same. Grace reminds the Warrior that a sword can point as well as chop.