In the grandstand bleachers we didn't realize at first the "seat" numbers were actually on the benches, slightly faded, but still readable. After sitting on the wrong pair of numbers, Tom and I made our apologies and tried to delicately climb over another couple.
A shortwhile later, a third couple came into the row from the opposite direction where there were four empty spaces. The woman was having trouble figuring out the numbering system, and the man was impatient to say the least. In an effort to appease him (probably before he embarrassed her), she said they would just sit there unless someone else came to claim the seats. She seemed to realize those were not their assigned seats.
This was where my mouth got a kink. Nothing was moving through. I knew those seats were sold. Being tall people, I always try to get aisle seats for us. The aisle seats had already been purchased when I bought ours. I knew four other people would eventually come looking for their seats.
And they did.
Four young men, beers in hand.
Second mistake, judging when I had no right to, further plugging up my pie-hole.
The conversation between the man sitting in the wrong seat and the quartet quickly escalated, and Grumpy Gus wasn't backing down.
The group of young men finally said they would go to the track to watch the concert, even though they had paid for the seats. The embarrassed wife looked like she would have liked to climb under the seats.
When the young men left, she held out her ticket to me. THEN I tried to explain to her where there seats were. I also reassured her that we'd made a similar mistake when we arrived. Brrr! Brrr! Roto-Rooter started firing up.
Finally, the couple awkwardly climbed over four of us trying to get to their assigned seats. The husband grumbled and complained the whole way. Since the stands were quickly getting crowded, there wasn't much room for them by this time. The man made a point of standing and loudly complaining that he'd paid for a seat, too.
The man's conduit continued to spew misunderstanding and anger. The people around him conveyed tolerance and self-control.
Since I had deliberately not moved into the area where the quartet's seats were, they were open when the young men came back. Selfishly, I had not wanted to risk being distracted from the music by more hostile vibes.
But God had something bigger planned.
I told the young man sitting next to me that I appreciated how gracious they had been. Honestly, you could see his whole countenance relax as he turned and smiled. During the next hour, we had a few more short, pleasant exchanges.
"What goes around, comes around."
And the guy making all the noise? He finally settled and sat down. No one around him returned his rudeness. In fact, he seemed a little sheepish.
I had been selfish and afraid the disagreement was going to turn into a full blown altercation. That was definitely not what I'd paid for. But God had roto-rootered my plugged up pipes and begun sending positive messages through it. It definitely wasn't a me thing. When God went to work through me, words to placate became prayers for peace. God's so good!
I wonder how often my conduit becomes plugged up, not letting messages get through that should. Or worse, sending sewage out onto anyone nearby. And sometimes I remember, "Everyone enjoys giving good advice, and how wonderful it is to be able to say the right thing at the right time!" Proverbs 15:23 (The Living Bible)
Sometimes my verbal conduit, a.k.a. my big mouth, needs a little Roto-Rootering. Does yours? How do you keep words of peace and affirmation flowing?