In an email to me from a friend/co-worker from the past, the following was tucked into a concluding paragraph…
“Not sure how to say this tactfully, but when you were on staff here, I saw a lot of “Carl”…”.
My character, more specifically a character deficiency called pride, was exposed. Yikes. Ouch. Yep.
That was a hard assessment to read, but no offense was taken because she was absolutely correct. Any pain brought on by that statement is my own creation, by my own behavior and words and attitude. She was not being accusatory, just reporting the facts. And the fact is, when I consider the time we worked together, I was a fairly self absorbed, self promoting, jerk. She is far too kind (or restrained) to have said exactly that, but I would not fault her for having thought it. Truthfully, there is no “tactful” way for saying that because people like me who wrestle with pride are skilled in dismissing tactful warnings. Following the ellipsis I included in the quote above, she was very complimentary to God’s work in my life she sees today. For that I am grateful for God’s grace. But it did cause me to reflect on what I did/said/thought that would lead her to make that statement. Unfortunately, a lot came to mind, and regrettably, with many people other than her. Too many instances to list, so I categorized them, and thus present to you my checklist for how to become known as self absorbed: