I admit to being easily stunned by people–unless I detect a threat I don’t try to anticipate human behavior. Moreover, I tend to reflection; so interaction requires a trip to a region of my brain other than where I habitually reside. Frequently while I transit one or more persons is standing before me, observing my placid face and hearing no utterance from my lips. I gain the impression that they conclude I am stupid and by definition, I would not know if it were true.
My first recent instance of being dumbfounded occurred at a meeting of a Board of Directors to which I had just been elected. During the course of the meeting, acrimony appeared evident on the part of certain Board members toward one another. Of equal concern to me was was the animousity expressed by at least one Board member toward certain absent shareholders whom the Board purportedly served. These observations troubled me; however I was not dumbfounded until, due a conflict of interest, a Board member stepped out and before the door was shut, other Board members began to mock an aspect of his appearance. In their excitement, they shrieked and bobbed. In the warm musty room with a newly refinished floor, their arms flailed as weightlessly as plastic bats.
My second recent instance of being dumbfounded occurred on an afternoon when the temperature exceeded 100 degrees. I was washing my kitchen floor, my back wet with prespiration under my polka dot shirt. A well-meaning but misguided woman arrived at my door to enlist my assistance for a goal I did not share. Without preface, she enumerated the action steps assigned me. I felt my face slip into a blank stare. The woman waved her short thin arms, her wrists and fingers adorned with dainty gold things. My eyelids sunk to a slit and sweat burst from my lip before I, puzzled, said softly, “I’m house cleaning.”
In neither of these instances was I confident in my response or lack thereof. In my subsequent reflections I wondered, what did God intend of me?
My third recent instance of being dumbfounded occurred with my teenage son, on an evening when he spoke rudely to me, then ignored my efforts to guide him to more respectful behavior. My son made a defiant gesture and I expressed frustration before exasperatedly exiting. I ate a bit of spaghetti without tasting it. I prayed and wondered, if Jesus were in the room, what would He advise? A watery apparition of Jesus appeared and instantly vanished. I walked to my son. I told him, “I’m sorry I got upset with you.” He eased into a quiet space and apologized for being rude. We hugged and said, “I love you.” The resolution made clear my understanding of what Jesus might have said, had He been in the room during the two prior instances: “Wipe that silly look off your face and lift up these lambs.”