Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What about manners?

I haven't known what to tell my son about opening a car door for a girl. I mean, manners and all, right? But right now he is listening to Regina Spektor singing "I'm the hero of this story, don't need to be saved."

And I think, amen, Regina. AMEN.

Oh we all want to be saved sometimes. It's such a relief. But mostly we save ourselves. God gives us that. Of course, it's all him, but he walks us through the path to him. We are definitely walking it. Who is this God of my youth who is all bridegroom and swoony and the perfect gentleman? The provider. The romantic. My Jesus walked straight out of a Jane Austen novel, never challenging me, but just loving me tenderly through all my failures, while I did nothing but simply fall in his arms all the time. I read Guyon too young. That's the weakness of the Mystics. For those of us not living in abject misery or poverty or chastity, it seems a bit of a sham to cry into our Starbucks and plead to God to open the door for us to get beyond this vale of Target. But you know what? He sometimes does.

Praise be to the kind intention of His will.

This door-opening thing.  It's not a carte blanche rule, is it? Some women have their doors held open for them, and some don't. I can only hope that it is the result of communication of preferences rather than old habits and resentments.

 Here's what I think.

Err on the side of kindness and thoughtfulness. Open her door at least the first few dates. Ask later if it comes up. Start a conversation about it. But do it for kindness, and not to impress anyone, ever.  But really, kiddo, hold the door for anyone struggling. Moms or Dads with babies. People with heavy loads. Elderly. Any one using something other than flesh and blood to ambulate. Be patient. Smile. Be kind.  If you are open a car door for a woman, and then proceed to ignore her conversation, or belittle her to your friends, then psshhhh, you might as well just slam the door in her face.

There's the whole "what would Jesus do." thing.

 Scratch that. Reverse it.

What would you do if it were Jesus? Because whoever you are with,  you are acting toward him. Let your actions honor him, and I think that by that rule, you can be fairly safe. And just so you know, I'd high five Jesus just about every day of the week. Including Sundays. He's awesome. And worth my kind attention. And if I were walking in front of him and he were right behind or next to me, I'd hold that door open for him. Heaven knows he's held enough doors open for me.

1 comment:

jayjay said...

Aw - good thoughts, Sarah. It sure made me think. I'm from an old school where it was part of the treatise called 'Etiquette' to hold doors open and pay for your date's drink etc. But yes, I was and am rather a romantic at heart and easily transfer that to who I think the Lord is. Indeed, he is beyond romance, beyond etiquette. He is kindness itself, as you say. I like that about communicating what you would like, and that that kindness needs to be the whole picture, not just one small 'rule' you think ticks the box of rightness, and you can ignore or undermine the person you did it to, at other times. Well said.
As Jan Schilling once said, "He's bigger than that."