“An eye for an eye”

“The choices we make in our daily lives either push us away from God or draw us more closely to him.”
— IgnatianSpirituality.com

It’s interesting how the sequence of events can affect your decisions.

At my job I receive many promotional emails, usually because I have filled out an online form to receive “free” information. Today a content marketing company, which emails me daily, urged me again to sign up for a conference it had organized for the end of this month at a location 2,600 miles away.

The email said, “we see that you are not registered” and “frankly, we are confused by this.” Then it listed, in descending order, 10 reasons why I might not be going to this event. For example, “you’re okay with creating content that is not tagged properly” or “ROI isn’t important to you.”

I allowed this to annoy me. So I immediately went to the bottom of the email in search of the “unsubscribe” button, which I clicked. I came to a page containing a list of check boxes for managing my email preferences, a section at the bottom for unsubscribing (with three choices for possible reasons), a text box for comments, and a “submit” button. I selected two of the three reasons — the company sends me too many emails and too much advertising (as opposed to useful content) — and then wrote in the comments box that I thought the last email was condescending and sarcastic. After thanking them for asking for my opinion, I clicked “submit” — all quite impulsively, for me.

Then I took a lunch break and read a Lenten reflection for the day, which basically was about turning the other cheek when provoked. I winced a bit, wishing briefly I had read this advice first thing in the morning, because I don’t normally react like this; I tend to “make nice” and let stuff roll off me, at least publicly. But, earlier, a different lesson had affected my attitude for the day.

Before leaving for work this morning I had a conversation with my sister, who was visiting my wife and me, about people we know who are better than we are at setting boundaries. They speak right up, leave no doubt where they stand on an issue, and don’t worry about what others think. They just have their say and move on. My sister and I agreed that we were getting to an age where we could feel more comfortable acting that way, since it would be more expected and tolerated.

So I guess that was on my mind when I opened this email and was confronted by, probably, a well-meaning marketer who decided to inject cleverness into his self-promotion. I admit I hesitated for a second before clicking that “submit” button, but I decided this time I wasn’t going to worry about being one of perhaps thousands of “opt-outs” this organization receives every year.

I’d just be one of their more grouchy ones.

“This generation is an evil generation.”
— Luke 11:29
(from today’s Gospel reading)

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