"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
November 27, 2014
When You are not Loved
by Hannah Bird

In theory, I generally know what I should be doing. I am an adult, chronologically. It is nothing less than what is expected. I know right from wrong. Decent human beings made whole-hearted attempts to raise me to be a good person. I am familiar with the concept.

Still, very often I behave like the south-going end of a north-going donkey. This is a little disappointing. I want to be virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. I really do. But that guy just cut me off in traffic to drive slow enough to be lapped by a toddler on a tricycle.

Sometimes I talk to people and they say things that are wrong. How can I possibly be expected to be gracious and lovely in the face of blatant wrongness? It’s superhuman.

So I say things. My friends could regale you for hours with horrendous things I have actually said to other human beings. It would be funny if it were an internal dialogue. But it is external, quite loud, and nearly involuntary.

So I will understand if you don’t like me. It’s fine. Really, I get it. Many of my closest friends started out hating me. I’m good with it. I am not implying that you and I will become the closest of friends. I am just saying, I have a long and storied history of being disliked.

Luckily, I am introvert and I actually prefer things this way. Mostly. people assume I am an extrovert because I am not shy. But the truth is I am not shy because if I had to leave my house things are already as bad as they can get.

A sweet friend was once lamenting that people did not like her. In an unguarded moment she said, “I don’t understand it. I am perfectly delightful.” The sad truth is, she is delightful. She is kind and funny and generous. But she was quite right. The people she was discussing did not like her. She is the kind and warm loving person that would welcome lots of friends. Yet, her virtues go unnoticed by some.

It hurts to be disliked. It hurts to be hated. It is painful to know that there are people who have hard feelings towards us. We feel like if we could just make our case, if we could just make them see, surely they would understand.

Maybe they would. But maybe not.

Several years ago, there was a dispute in my husband’s extended family about land and water. Show me a pasture anywhere and I’ll show you a family that has fought over it. I was speaking to a rather distraught party and I said it was important that we communicate and work together.

I noted that my sainted mother had reminded me just that morning that land wars always start over water. We needed to work together to avoid that kind of problem.

My observations fell on what I believed to be deaf ears. The distraught party continued being distraught. Much drama ensued. It came down to a legal fight. I was shocked to find there were depositions alleging that I had threatened people with a land war.

I took the rare step of actually crying over this. It wasn’t what I said. It wasn’t what I meant. I had only said anything to one of the people making the allegations. I was unjustly accused of poor behavior and then hated for it.

It was terribly unfair. Or not.

The truth is that those people don’t like me. And the truth is I am occasionally tough to like. I didn’t do what I was accused of. But if I had said what they thought I had, it would be scary.

From their point of you it may well have felt like that is exactly what I said. It may have felt threatening. They may just not get me. But it isn’t an issue of fairness.

Christ’s purpose on this earth was pretty straightforward. Prophets had testified of him and his work long before he came. And when he came, he was perfect. He was never once unfair. He was never wrong. His entire intent was goodness. He was love. He offered salvation and grace and love. He offered the path of goodness to walk. He’d even feed you dinner if his speech ran long. If you ran out of wine he could fix that.

He was the one perfect person who ever lived.

He made some friends. He had some support. But lots of people didn’t like him. People in power didn’t like him. People thought he was wrong. People thought he was blasphemous and arrogant. People decided who he was despite literally every single thing he said or did.

They crucified him for it.

My point is not that I am like Christ. It’s the opposite. He was perfect and loving and good.

People still didn’t like him. I am imperfect and critical and bad-natured. People certainly aren’t all going to like me.

My job is not to be liked (luckily). My job is to be as good as I can be, as fair as I can be, as kind as I can be. I should make a sincere attempt to at least be the front of the donkey. Then after my genuine best effort my job is to answer my detractors with love.

And let it go.

Bookmark and Share    

Saving Marriage
- - July 02, 2015
Love Like a Box of Rocks
- - March 26, 2015
The Hard, Sweaty Thing Called Love
- - February 19, 2015
When Momma Went to War
- - January 15, 2015
When You are not Loved
- - November 27, 2014
Breathe In
- - November 20, 2014
Living with Addiction
- - August 14, 2014
High Water
- - July 19, 2014
Love and Water
- - July 10, 2014
- - June 19, 2014
More by Hannah Bird

About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

Copyright © Hatrack River Enterprise Inc. All Rights Reserved. Web Site Hosted and Designed by WebBoulevard.com