The cancer support center where I work has been growing rapidly, and so we recently moved to a larger building.
Prior to the move, I had measured a spot for a huge shelving unit; it would just fit. When I pointed out this spot to the mover, he said, “There is no way that piece will fit into that spot.”
“I measured,” I assured him, and showed him how I had walked off the space.
“You needed to really measure it,” he asserted. I would not give up my point and he called another mover over for his opinion.
“That big piece?” the second mover asked. “It’ll never fit in there.”
I was not in the room when they brought the shelving unit in, but later I saw that it fit perfectly.
A friend who was helping with the move told me she had advised the movers, “Don’t tell Madeline she was right or she will gloat.”
She was right; I gloated. She knows me so well—or I am that transparent. Either way, ugh. Not my finest moment.On my way home that evening, I heard a man on a radio show talking about his heritage. He had traced his family back to a southern city where there was a plantation owner with the same last name as his. His voice took on a confident tone as he suggested that he would be able to trace his DNA back to this slave-owner.
I don’t doubt the possibility or even probability that a plantation owner fathered children with his slaves, but it seemed to me this man needed for it to be true, and I wondered if he would accept any other outcome.It made me think of my needing to be right about the shelving unit fitting into the space.
What is it that makes me need to be right? And why do I take so much pleasure in someone’s admission that I am right?
When we were in our early thirties, a friend’s mother told us, “If there is something you don’t like about yourself, change it now, because it will only get worse as you get older.”
At the time, I thought about my negative traits, the things I wanted to change. If the need to be right was one of them, I did not do a very good job of changing it.
In the New Year, I pray for the grace to be less certain and more curious, to let go of my need to be right and be more humble.
I want to be curious—not convinced, knowing that certainty can cloud my judgment. I want to leave room for some other possibility that I had not even considered, some gift God desires to give me.
I remind myself that God is doing something new (Isaiah 43:19) but I need to make room for what God has planned, to be more open to possibility and to believe that the best is yet to come.