The little girl stared at me thoughtfully while she rested in her mother's arms. The mom was telling me of her daughter's difficulties. "I think she may be a little scared of big men." I don't think the girl nodded but she was listening.
I'm a big man (loud too), and I knew she wasn't always too sure about me, although she had drawn two pictures for me the week before, of which I reminded her.
"You may not know how you feel about people sometimes," I told her. "But here's one thing you CAN know, and that's that I like you."
It got a hint of a smile.
Things have been easier at the church since the meeting I described previously. Several felt bad about how my wife had been treated. One individual paid to replace a large faulty appliance in the parsonage and told me to tell my wife to pick out exactly which one she wanted. When I asked this benefactor what the price range was, she looked at me with mock severity and said, "None of your business."
I've changed a bit toward them. I have seen their insecurities and I've come to understand how much reassurance they need. Instead of wondering how they feel about me, I'm conveying that I like them.
I don't always--like them I mean. But that's what I'm conveying.
And they seem to be responding. Maybe things will improve. Or maybe some of them will wait for another opportune time to nail me. We'll just have to see.
It's hard to describe how I feel. Perhaps its like riding an unbroken mare. I'd been waiting for her to bolt and buck. She finally did, then settled down, and I'm still in the saddle. Maybe a little more settled and in control.
But like I said, we'll see when (not if) she breaks loose again.