It happened the day my daughter and I were hosting more than 100 people for her Salon Grand Opening. We were stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed. The normally warm spring temperatures dipped into the 30’s and our caterer had rented a tent with heaters to compensate. We had no idea the “tent men” would not erect it properly, but our local zoning board was more than happy to make us acutely aware of the problem.
In the middle of final preparations for the event, my daughter’s friend looked out the window and said, “There’s a man outside in a trench coat taking pictures of the tent.” Hmmm… Who could it be, and why didn’t he just come in and talk to us?
To be fair to our local government officials, we had planned the party at the last minute, thereby not having the necessary time to apply for a permit. We hoped we would “fly under the radar,” but who were we kidding? Our business is just across the park from the city offices.
Fearing our Grand Opening was about to bust, I took command, told my daughter, “I’ll take care of this,” and marched over to the city office ready for a verbal rumble. What transpired is embarrassing to admit, but here’s the cliff note version:
I storm into the Building Department and approach the administrative assistant who asks, “Can I help you?”
“Yes,” I state. “I’d like to talk to the man who was taking pictures of our tent.”
“What?” she asks.
“You know what I’m talking about. I want to talk to him right now.” I am fuming, ready to throw a tantrum to get my way. She walks through a door and produces a tall, thin man who doesn’t fit the description of the one who took the photos. I am displeased and make sure he knows it. I speak in a disrespectful tone in an attempt to intimidate him.
You get the point. The conversation deteriorates. Then he informs me that five men from various permit, zoning, building, and other departments will be at my daughter’s business in five minutes. Gulp. How am I supposed to take on five men at one time? We don’t have time for this. The party starts in three hours!
They walk over. My daughter, ever the politician, handles the conversation while I continue to fume inside. The tent is pronounced DOA and is ordered to be removed. We call the caterer in a panic and tell her we are having a crisis. She races over and meets with city officials, and the situation is temporarily resolved.
As it turns out, hosting the party indoors was the better thing. Being forced to remove the tent was a blessing. It was freezing cold and the wind was whipping wildly. At midnight, after ample celebration, we declared the event a success. But, inside I was still troubled. What was I to do about my embarrassing display of immaturity? Would I have to avoid our city offices, and potentially every restaurant and store in town, to avoid the people I ranted at?
I knew what I had to do but was anxious to humble myself and apologize. I talked to a good friend about the situation and he recommended I take cupcakes. Cupcakes? I wondered. How in the world is that going to help? But, the more I pondered the thought, I realized he was right. Gifts are good.
Exactly one week to the day I humiliated myself, I selected one dozen assorted cupcakes from Pink Moon Bakery and walked them to the city office with my heart on my sleeve.
When I approached the administrative assistant’s desk, she said, “I remember you,” which made me shudder.
I forced a smiled and said, “I brought a peace offering.”
She didn’t say a word. She just looked at me, puzzled.
I continued…”Last week we were stressed and exhausted getting the business open and the party planned. But no matter what was going on in my life, I had no right to take it out on you. You didn’t deserve to be treated the way I treated you. I am so sorry.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I was about to cry when all at once she smiled and leaned across the desk to give me a big hug.
“You didn’t have to do this,” she said.
“Yes, I did,” I replied. “Would you please pass my apology on to the other men, too?”
She nodded, we chatted a bit more, and I left feeling lighter and happier than I had in a week. Everything is going to be fine. Turns out that our city encourages and supports women business owners. They’re excited about my daughter’s potential success. Who would have thought?
Interestingly, the next day one of the verses in my Bible Study was Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Boy, don’t I know it!
Praise God, He convicted me of my wrongdoing and led me to seek reconciliation with those I had hurt. And Praise God for my good friend who suggested the cupcakes. I think they made all the difference.
Is there someone you need to reconcile with today? If I can face my failure and become a better person because of it, I’m confident you can too. You’ll be so glad you did.