Monday, January 2, 2012

Going to the Beach and One VERY Humbling Experience...sigh...

 So, I was just going to post the pics from our first beach trip for the summer.
It took us 3 hours to get there and another 3 to make it home again (with breastfeeding stops along the way!).
But as I was washing up (as you do at 10.35pm lol) I was thinking about what happened this afternoon at the beach.
And I was thinking about how I don't have to share this story but that sometimes in our honest blog posting in cyber world, we somehow are able to relate better to one another.
So I've decided to share this story tonight.
Maybe it's for someone else's benefit or maybe just for my own but either way, I'm going to post it.

But first, photos....
{our 4 biggest kiddos loving the water!}

{jumping over waves}

{seaweed shoreline}

{i love our underwater camera...it can take you right up close and personal to the water action without damaging the camera!!!}

{putting sand into dad's lap}

{Zeeki's first paddle. He LOVED it. Our first child born in water and also our first child who actually LOVES water!}

{Stassi + me underwater!}

{Love this one of Stass!}


{kick fights}

{brett took this one of some seaweed under the water}
{the boys having a little race}

{Zippi didn't really seem interested in the shells when Brett showed them to her but she did REALLY enjoy paddling in the water!}


{Stass and Liji enjoyed paddling out to a little sand bar and watching the waves and talking.
Was very sweet to see}
{Ethi making sand angels. The other two older kids joined in and they kept repeating this little game of sand angels and into the water to wash the sand off every couple of minutes}

So.
The photos show it was a lovely afternoon.
What they don't show are two things.
One; how very necessary our little adventure was today after one of the toughest weeks we've had for a very long time. Extremely tough for reasons that don't need to be mentioned here but a trial none the less. Yah has once again brought us through and after some heart to heart discussions and re-grouping, we decided that a day trip to the beach was in order.

Two; the other thing these photos don't show was the story I alluded to earlier.

So after our lovely afternoon at the beach, we headd back to our car.
Brett arrived there first and told me that we have a fine on our windscreen.
WHAT? A fine? Are you kidding me? There were no parking signs! We had checked when we got out of the car! We are fastidious about that! We always check and there were NO signs anywhere near the place that we parked.
There was a sign further on through some gates around a different part of the area but not where we were. Surely they can't fine us if there aren't any signs?!

I was quite upset about it.

Not sure why I was so upset.

Maybe it was the culmination of a hugely difficult week.
Maybe it was because I'd just been to the showers where a lady refused to pick up her screaming child and comfort it and I desperately wanted to rock that little bubba myself!
Maybe it was because I really had checked before we left the car.
Either way, I was upset.

I walked with Zeeki in my arms, back about 20 meters to the entrance of the carpark.
I scanned the signs.
Nope. No mention of having to pay to park there!
Right, I thought. That's it. This guy has messed with the wrong person today.

Now people who know me well, know how much I actually HATE confrontation. I have been known to become physically ill over just knowing that I have upset someone or that I have to talk to someone about something that might upset them. I am not normally someone who likes to get into an argument or argue the point on something like a fine. That's just not me.
No, I'm the opposite. I like to placate and that can also get me into trouble from time to time for not speaking my mind!

Anyway, I took that fine in one hand, baby in the other, and I marched off to that Ranger's little booth to get to the bottom of this fine issue! Meanwhile, poor Brett is back at the car having to dress everyone into dry clothes because I have a bee in my bonnet and I was off to see that man!

I walked down there and said, "Hi there. We just returned back to our car to find this fine on our windscreen. Now, there aren't any signs saying that we need to pay to park in that area, so I don't understand why we have this fine!"

He replies about how it is a national park and common sense says that you need to pay to park there.
Um, no it doesn't! I asked him how were we to know to pay for parking if there was no sign? We aren't from the area; surely they can't expect people to just know that they should pay!

"I think you'll find that there is a sign when you drive in that clearly states that you need to pay to park here," he says.
"Well, I've checked the signs and I think YOU'LL find that there are no such signs there! And because there are no signs there, I'm NOT going to pay for this fine!"
Then I added something about contacting Today Tonight (the current affairs TV program) and asked for his name and threatned that he would be contacted further about this whole incident.
{Today Tonight? Seriously...how embarassing am I and how worked up that I felt I needed to pull the TT card?}

I turned on my heels, with ticket and baby still in arms, back to the car with fumes coming out my ears I'm sure.

Back at the car, Brett asked me what had happened and I told him.
Oh yes. I told him and the kids.
"I need your phone too so I can take photos of those signs."

Brett said, "Don't worry mate. It's just $11".
"No!" I said emphatically. "It's the principal of the whole thing!"

So I took Brett's phone and went to the signs at the gate that I had already checked, and photographed them.
And that's when I saw it.
Admittedly, it was small BUT it was definitely there.

'A fee of $11 for parking in these grounds applies' read the sign.

Uh-oh.
I could taste it already.
Bitter.
Nasty.
Horrible.
The taste of how I'd let my own indignation rise up and spew out of my mouth before I'd checked my facts properly.
This poor man.
He was an older gentleman too.
Someone's son, probably someone's husband, daddy, pop.
Not only was I breaking Torah by not respecting someone older than me but I was going against the heart of Torah; loving your neighbour.
I'd had nothing but loathing for this poor man who was just doing his job.
AND. I. WAS. WRONG

There was another taste forming in my mouth.
I'd had that taste before too.
The taste of humble pie.

Yes.
As quickly as I'd marched off the tear down this man, I grabbed my wallet, and went back to his little pay-station, once again with the fine in my hand.

I wasn't sure how he'd react but I knew I had to do the right thing and humble myself.
I said, "Hi again. I've gone back to check the signs and you were absoulutely right. They do say that there is an $11 parking fee and so I humbly apologise and ask for your forgiveness."

He said it was fine and that it was good of me to come back and say that.
I paid for the fine and shook his hand and thanked him for being gracious towards me.

Sigh.

I walked back to the car knowing that I had done the right thing to go back there and own up to my mistake.
 I felt like a puppy going home with her tail between her legs as I walked back to my family.

But they cheered me on.
I explained that I had made a mistake (since they'd already heard me ranting about how unfair the fine was!!!) and had gone to apologise to the man.
Brett told the kids I was the most amazing woman (sweet guy - deluded but sweet all the same! kidding!) which was a really encouraging thing for him to say.

It was a really good natural learning moment for our kids actually...to kind of see a problem being worked out before them and watching a humbling process take place - as painful as it is to admit our mistakes.
And of course it was a good natural learning moment for me too....think things through before I speak. Breathe and assess whether something is really worth sticking your neck out for and if it is, make sure you have your facts right first! And of course the most important thing for me in the whole situation was the reminder to act in love. I had missed the heart and I don't want to be a person who does that.
And, what a precious gift grace and forgiveness are to us.
A clean slate.
A fresh beginning.
Thank you Yah.

Anyway, that's the story of my humble pie incident this afternoon.
If anything like that has ever happened to you, I guess it might be comforting to know in some small way, that you aren't alone.

And I'll leave you with these verses that I've been reflecting on tonight:

"For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly father will also forgive you..."
- Matthew 6:14

"Stand up in the presence of a person with gray hair, show respect for the old..."
- Leviticus 19:32

"...love your neighbour as yourself..."
- Leviticus 19:18 & Mark 12:31

More to come another time,

8 comments:

Nat said...

Well done honey. You ARE an amazing woman. I don't know how many people would go and eat their slice of humble pie and apologise.
It looks like it was a beautiful trip!!

Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

Ah Lusi,
Life and the Lord - the greatest teachers. Your children will have learned a VERY valuable experience - one that no mere book or school lesson could teach them. Praise the Lord!

Bless you sister... and thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

((((Lusi))) Beautiful experience. :) You recovered well. . . and no, you are not the only one. I can get pretty fired up, while my hubby is so laid back - "it's the principle. . ." - I've said that MANY times! I've learned to let go as I've grown and matured and Father has let little things like this happen to grow me. :)

Sarndra said...

Aah I completely relate to this. I too have pulled out the TT card too early! LOL! :-) That is so admirable of you to ackowledge your mistake and apologise. A great lesson for the kids too. Thanks for sharing this Lusi. Love to you all Xoxxx

YahKheena said...

I have to side in with Brett your one amazing woman... I too have had my fair share of humble pie... it's good for the soul ;-)
Thanks for sharing, oh and it looks like you all had a great time, wish I could have been there!

lusi said...

Thank you all for the VERY encouraging comments!
It's nice to know I'm not alone in the lessons Yah teaches me!!!
Much love to you one and all!
Lus x

Anonymous said...

All too often I get upset and annoyed over different situations and announce "I am going to write a letter to complain".

My husband keeps telling me not to bother but I get fired up about many issues and can understand how you felt.

It is however pretty embarassing when you discover you are in the wrong. Well done going back to the man and saying sorry. It is an important lesson for your children to have witnessed.

The beach photos look wonderful, what a fun time you must of had together.

Hoping the rest of the week is happy and relaxing for you all :)

From Susan McGuire (smiles1965)

caz1975 said...

oh humble pie, I find I need to eat it a lot, thanks for sharing!!

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