Monday, November 2, 2009

On Being Stubborn

Being stubborn can be a good thing. "Just Say no." requires a bit of a stubborn streak, doesn't it? Those terrible two's, which are the height of Stubborn, leave us in awe of our little precious who is emerging as a person all his own. In many ways, stubborn requires conviction. It means we find something important enough to take a stand.

So why does being stubborn get such a bad rap? I mean, the stubborn animal is the jack ass right? That can't be sending a positive message. No one really takes it as a compliment when they are told how incredibly obstinate they are being, do they?

Stubborn actually has two definitions: unreasonably unyielding AND justifiably unyielding. I am guessing it is the first definition that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouth. But at the end of the day, being unyielding is being stubborn, and unless you are two or being offered drugs, it really isn't such a good thing is it?

We have all heard the stories of the friends who have not spoken for sixty years. It has been so long since the supposed slight, neither remembers why they are mad. They only KNOW it was the other's fault.

We shake our heads in pity at the lost years, the pettiness, the ridiculousness of it all. But how often have we dug in our heals and waited? Maybe it has only been a week or a month, not sixty years, but is that because we were just lucky enough not to be mad at someone as stubborn as we?

Justifiably unyielding. Justified in our anger. Justified in our resolution to not be the first to make amends. Justified in our justice. But where does it get us?

The hardest time to swallow our pride and not be stubborn is, in fact, when we are in the right. But does that make it right?

Where would we be if we were always treated with justice? Maybe you are a better person than I, but I wouldn't have gotten very far. I don't deserve most of the good things in my life. I try to be a good wife, mother, sibling, friend. But I do not compare with the blessings I call husband, mother, siblings and friends.

If being unyielding, even justifiably so, means being alone, for a week, a month, sixty years, I am not sure it is worth it. By all means we can require change, reconciliation, truce. But we can not be unyielding. Well, I guess we can be, but should we be?

Life is too short to be stubborn. Like the mule, it is a huge pack of stuff we lug around strapped to our back. To free ourselves from the burden, we must try and forgive. Easier said than done, I know. And even harder when we are in the right. But if we are not willing to yield, do we win? Or does everybody lose?

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