I am not sure how often often this happens to me, and that’s the problem. No one tells me.
Yesterday while I was grocery shopping I noticed that the employees I came into contact with where staring at me. Not the, “make polite eye contact with the customer”, eye contact, but something more. Something like an accident you can’t look away from.
After the second employee was staring, I began thinking that it wasn’t my jovial good looks, but perhaps something else. I checked my zipper. I wiped my mouth. Then it hit me – a booger. As cool and casual as I could be, I put my hand up over my nose like I was scratching it. This is my obvious way of checking the outside of nose for anything dripping out. I really was hoping that there was nothing there, and that it was my deep green eyes that captivated them.
But no, it was a crusty booger. Right there, at the edge of my nostril, peeking out from it’s cave of other stalagmite-like boogers. Not wanting to pick my nose right in the middle of the snack isle, I continued to act like I was scratching my nose as I walked quickly to the bathroom. There was a line. Frantic, I continued my race around the grocery store to find napkins, all the while rubbing my nose raw, pretending I had a really bad itch.
Finally, I found the napkins by the plastic utensils. I grabbed a bunch, and pretend to blow my nose instead of what I was really doing – picking it. After scraping the sides of my nostrils with the rough napkins, just to be sure, I still felt paranoid. For the next few moments, I kept touching and checking my nose just to be sure. Once my paranoia subsided, I took a deep breath and finished my grocery shopping.
After I loaded up my car with the groceries and sat in my seat, I brought the mirror down from the visor and gave myself a reassuring look over. Clean as a whistle. I felt relief, but also a little frustrated. It would have been nice if someone would have told me about the booger instead of staring at it. Would it have been more polite to tell me instead of letting me walk around like a 3 year old with a cold?
I have and do tell people when there is a booger hanging out. Or food on their face. Or a zipper that is down. As awkward as it may be, I think that people would appreciate knowing the truth, thus saving themselves from further embarrassment. Not only do we have voices and words to help us out, but universal gestures to tell others when they are in such a predicament. Are we afraid to tell people awkward truths? Are we scared they might get mad at us?
I want to be known as an honest man, who speaks because he loves.
Preachy part: I don’t think it is bad at all to tell the truth. I think it’s honest and loving. I suppose there are good ways and bad ways to do it, but unless you are a sociopath, I believe we are capable of tactfulness in speaking honestly. Now someone might not like it, no matter how loving and graceful we are in telling them, but that’s their issue. I want to be known as an honest man, who speaks because he loves.
Jesus modeled this for me. He wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, even if it made people mad. If they were angry, they took it out on him as he was the messenger, but it was the truth he spoke, the mirror he held up and what they saw of themselves that they were really lashing out at.
He also knew who he was talking to. He knew when to be compassionate, and when to be tough. He didn’t mix words but got right to the core of the issue, so there was no misunderstanding. He didn’t speak to hurt, he spoke to give life. To heal. To save. He spoke, because he loved. That’s how I want to speak.
So the next time you see a person in need, like a booger hanging out of their nose, say something. Be known as a truth-teller.
Pro-tips: There’s something on your face.