A couple of days ago I had an interaction with a person whom I have never met that I am still thinking about.
I have a friend who is out of town and asked several of us to watch her cats. I agreed to help and created a schedule for all the people so we each knew when we should watch the animals. I and my children went on the days we were scheduled. Caden (my seven year old) scooped all the litter boxes and put new litter in them. My kids hugged and loved the cats and each time we went we were generally excited to help.
Here is where it gets strange. I get an email from one of the other people who is helping watch the cats. I wish you could hear tone in an email. I was pretty certain that this person was furious for reasons that were ridiculous. This person was mad that we were going to the house on the days she was scheduled. She was mad that we threw out a bag with cat poop in it and mad that the cat had an accident. So I re-read our schedule and she made the mistake. I was at the house on my scheduled day. So I responded to the email she had sent. I said I am not sure if she realized how incredibly rude and frustrated she sounded but in the future she may want to try a nicer approach. Now mind you it was VERY evident that she was ticked off. AGAIN....I have never met this person. I also said I would be happy to continue watching the cats since the week got doubled up. I asked her to respond to me and let me know the plans so I could make sure the cats were cared for. I got no response. I emailed another short note. In this note I said that I could have used a nicer tone I was just frustrated by the perceived tone of her email. I did not apologize. I was quite certain that her tone was intended but was trying to give the benefit of the doubt. She then responded and said I already told you I would watch the cats but I guess you never got the email. I obviously never got the email because I wouldn't have sent a second email. Are you with me because here is where it gets really strange. She then writes that she apologizes too(I didn't apologize). She said that she and her friends have talked about me and that is why she was rude in the initial email to me (so my perception was right). She said that it may be hard for me to hear this but that is why she was harsh to me. What? I have never met you! I don't know who you are and you and your friends are discussing what a terrible person I am? So in her apology she slammed me more than in her first email. She literally made it worse.
I decided not to respond to her because I am a firm believer that you can't fight crazy. I however, have thought about this exchange. I decided to think about times in my life I have apologized only to really blame it on the person I was apologizing to. So my lesson in this is when I apologize I need to make sure I am truly sorry. If I am not I think it is better to say nothing. It is obvious that she isn't sorry. I wish she had just said nothing. Now I am dealing with the aftermath of what she said.
I know I am a work in progress. I know that I have areas of blindness in my life. My prayer is that I would see these areas in my life and work on them. I pray that for her too. I am quite certain I am not the only person in her world that she has done this to. Especially, since I have never met her.