Hitting Send

Recently Besomami and Little Mary asked interesting questions about blogging ettiquette. Little Mary is a little more direct. She calls it a pet peeve. I'm not sure where my gripe is exactly. It might be ettiquette. It might be a pet peeve. It might be a rant. (I know. Imagine!)

My lament is not in the blogosphere -- but a question about email. It is my personal feeling that people misuse email in horrible and abusive ways. For those of you that know me, you know that I hate the phone. I do email lots. I admit it. I email in my ministry more than I would like to admit. This is something that I agonize over daily. Do I take this as a teaching moment about good communication or respond to the passive aggressive email in the way that this person is contacting me? More often than not, I hit reply. It makes me cringe. I'm embarassed to admit it.

However, this email was not a church-related email. This was an email that arrived this afternoon from a member of my family to addressed to my parents and cc'ed to every relative in the family. It was an attack on my parents. It was one of those awful emails that makes you pause and wonder if this person should have counted to 10 before hitting send. This relative is angry. Very angry. Isn't it charming that not only do we express anger but pull up all past wrongs in the midst of disaster? This is what my relative did.

I did not reply.

Instead, I thought of Jesus drawing a line in the sand. I thought of how he turned the crowd and asked who among them was not also angry or guilty or sinful. A woman stands in the midst of the crowd. She is the source of their anger. They are ready to throw things. They are ready to hit send and draw deeper lines in the sand. This is why I did not reply. I don't want deeper lines in the sand.

My family is complicated enough. I have three families beyond my immediate family. It seems that there are always lines in the sand that I'm trying to traverse. There are always lines that I have smooth out. And there are lines that require me to ask everyone to resist the temptation to throw things. I don't want to do this anymore. When the only person who understands what it was like for me to grow up ends up in a Psych Ward, I'm refusing to play on these lines anymore.

Instead of precariously playing on these lines, I'm blogging. I hope this doesn't fall into anyone's pet peeves because it is a release for me. Even though she's cat blogging (one of my pet peeves), ppb encouraged me to do bibliotherapy. I haven't read anything since she gave this wonderful advice of reading to offer myself some therapy. I read some poetry on Thursday but I abandoned my books over the weekend. I can't seem to find the attention span to read. My mind wanders too quickly -- but blogging offers a connection that reminds me that others are praying. Others are listening. Whether you know me or not, you have been a blessing to me as I try so hard not to dance across the lines that my family draws. Your comments have supported me tremendously when I can't (or won't) share what is happening with my church family.


LittleMary said...

i hear ya about all the families i am trying to balance, all the feelings that are so easily hurt (at least for my many families outside of my family). yuck. glad you didn't reply. i hate the phone sometimes too. i just have too much of it at work. and i would rather email with parishoners too sometimes. i know, it is bad.

mark said...

I have a kind of funny story about the way e-mail can be misused. It was my freshman year of college, and I was in my dorm room with my roommate. We were both going about our business when he got up and left for about five minutes, and then came back to the room and went back to his business. A couple minutes later I got up and walked down to the dorm computer room to check my e-mail. Wouldn't you know it, in my inbox was an e-mail from my roommate telling me that he was angry with me about something, which he had sent to me during those five minutes he was out of the room. How's that for effective communication? I chose not to hit reply.
I love e-mail, as it gives me a way to instantly communicate with my friends and loved ones who are near and far. I loathe e-mail because it gives us a way to passive-aggressively lash out at others and not be engaged in real dialogue.
I also use it way too much, too...

Magdalene6127 said...

I stand convicted of sending not one but two angry emails to a colleague last week (she had sent me one in red, bold font).

You are so wise. You remain in my prayers.

Bill Clinton, huh? Did you run into him around 125th Street?

steve said...

Sounds like a good choice on not getting pulled into that particular piece of drama. I loved your meditation on "lines." Peace to you.