Fast from gossiping; control your thoughts
Entering the front office my face flushed as all conversation stopped and a depressive silence ensued from the other five women. My heart pounded hard in my chest while they stared at me walking across the area to the only enclosed space that was my office. I could hear their snickering through the open door. I’m not sure how I became the object of gossip, the adult form of bullying, but it had gone on for years.
I was in a lead position usually only held by men. I had a great deal of responsibility to keep the manufacturing facility running, but no authority to impose the necessary work flow; technically I was not a manager. The men often grumbled about work assignments but complied. With the women…it seemed a battle line had been drawn.
While at that job I remember the struggles I had to control my thoughts and not engage in the destructive fray of mean words. Sometimes I actually succeeded in getting one or two of the women to offer a genuine smile…that is until they realized that the other's were watching and not wanting to be the next object of discussion over lunch, would quickly look away.
I’ve never been able to fully understand how I became the subject of such ridicule. I admit to being task-oriented, probably missing a few nonverbal signals from the women and apparently doing something to perturb them. I never learned what I had done to tick them off, and so not knowing could not amend for my grievously offensive error. I tried to keep moving forward…which I think ticked them off all the more.
I had a quote hanging on the wall behind my desk that read “Is it true? Is it fair? Is it kind?” I would read that quote each time I entered my office, as did anyone who came to see me. Those few words succinctly reflected the heart of Christ. And with that, I and those who came into my space could take a breath for a purposeful silencing as we discussed the flow of work.