“The Rest of the Story”
June 19, 2004
“Mom! He just yanked my toy away for no reason!”
Oh no! Not again! Do these things ever happen in your house? Maybe it’s a malady common only to ministers’ families. My children are a little on the active side. There’s never a dull moment and rarely is it quiet. Happy noise I can handle, but at times like these I wish I could take up golf or some other quiet, grown-up kind of game.
Referee Mom skates onto the arena, praying that God will give insight into yet another player’s quarrel. “Ok, guys. What’s happened this time?”
“I was just sitting here, playing with my toy when he came in and grabbed …”
“No I didn’t! YOU were the one that grabbed the piece out of MY pile!”
“But it’s mine! You had no right …”
“Ok, ok! Time out!” The referee blows her whistle, thanking God she didn’t blow her top, and sends each to his own penalty box. “Sit there in your room while I go talk to your brother.”
Taking a minute to let the adrenaline rush settle down in all three of us, I slowly head to player number one’s room. “All right. Start from the beginning and tell me what happened.” I sit and listen to an instant replay in which player number one is clearly the offended party. “Are you sure that’s what happened? Don’t leave anything out.”
“Yes, you can even ask her,” he says with a pout.
Leaving penalty box number one, I skate calmly over to number two, now sitting quietly on her bed. “So, what’s your story?” Again, out tumbles a story in which number two is clearly the offended party. “Would you like to tell me the rest of the story? Start back before the part where he grabbed at your toy. Why did he want it?”
Reluctantly it is finally revealed what I had instinctively known from the first yell of foul play. There was more to the story than had first been told. Neither of the offended players was completely in the right. Camera angles on the instant replay proved beyond a shadow of doubt that both players had done their part leading toward the argument. Seeing as Referee Mom already knew “the rest of the story,” both players admitted their faults, apologized for their part in the quarrel and skated off together to enjoy the last of the third period before the final whistle blew for bedtime.
How often in the intensity of the moment I trick myself into believing that I am always the innocent party in quarrels I have or offences I take even as an adult. I feel my hurt and disappointment so keenly that I have eyes for nothing else. But when my Referee Lord blows the whistle, and points out the part I had to play in causing the argument or possibly the reason why the other person acts as they do, suddenly things become clear and I regret my hasty reactions. I must then forgive whatever wrong I have received and also apologize for my own faults. Lord, help me be slow to anger and quick to listen to “the rest of the story.”