“That drives me crazy,” my husband commented on Sunday afternoon.
It was halftime of the football game we were watching. I, being not too interested in the halftime show, had retired to reading my paper. But hubbie’s comments focused my attention to what the sports broadcasters were discussing: a recent video showing one college football player flagrantly attempting to eye gouge another player who was pinned in a pile.
The coach had decided to suspend the player for a half-game after viewing the video tape (“Oooo,” hubbie commented. “Suspend him for a half game against Vanderbilt. That’ll teach him.”). But what got under hubbie’s skin a little was this comment from the coach as he was interviewed:
“I don’t condone that. I understand what goes on on the football field, but there’s no place for that … I spoke with him. That’s not who he is … He got caught up in emotion.”
A female college soccer player, who was videoed repeatedly pulling hair, kicking, punching and elbowing opposing players in a recent match, is using the same type of language in her defense. She told the New York Times
“I look at it and I’m like, ‘That is not me,’. I have so much regret. I can’t believe I did that.
I think the way the video came out, it did make me look like a monster. That’s not the type of player I am. I’m not just out there trying to hurt players. That’s taking away from the beauty of the game. And I would never want to do that.”
It’s that language that was driving hubbie a little crazy on Sunday.
“Not who he is? Take a look at the video. If that’s not who he is, he never would have done it, even with the emotion,” hubbie said. “Better to say, ‘That video showed me someone who I don’t want to be. I apologize for my behavior. I’ve got some things to work on. I will be working on them.'”
Smart guy, that hubbie. As I thought about what he said, I thought about how exactly right he was. It’s under pressure … under intense emotion … that my own ugly comes out bright and clear. Yep, I can hold the ugly in under most conditions. But it’s when I’m frustrated with my family, or driving when I’m late to an appointment, or tired, or whatever, that Ugly Heather makes her entrance.
And it’s so tempting to sweep UH under the rug. “That’s not me,” I protest. “I’m not like that.” But, maybe, that’s exactly who I am. That’s exactly why I need a Savior. That’s exactly why I continue to need to be sanctified.
My in-laws have a magnet on their refrigerator that reads, “Sports don’t build character. They reveal it.”
Perhaps for me it might read, “Life doesn’t build character. It reveals it.”
The next time Ugly Heather reveals herself (which, let’s be honest, probably won’t be that long from the time I end this post), I’ve got something to think about. Instead of protesting to God, “That’s just not me!”, I can say, “Please forgive me. Create in me a clean heart and a right spirit. Because that is me and it’s not who I want to be.”