Friday, May 25, 2007

A Lesson Hard Learned

My wife married a union advocate, and as such bore the brunt of much ire concerning the evils of his employer. The CEO, or so I thought, was getting rich off the backs of good folk like myself, and I was angry about it. To say the least my wife was not happy with the embittered heart of her husband and (surprise) this caused some discord; but this would not continue.

I believe that most have experienced what I will call "an episode of clarity" when, for whatever reason, the fog in one's head clears for a few seconds to reveal a morsel of truth previously obscured. I experienced such an episode while visiting my in-laws many years ago. It was three against me as my wife and her parents, (for all of whom I have much respect) endeavored to expose the bitterness that had overtaken my heart concerning my employer. I was standing ready to defend my ground to the death when it occurred to me that all three of my adversaries loved me and were not trying to win an argument, but were trying to expose a blind spot. As it happened, this was one of the many three second or so "episodes", magnified in the annals of my mind thus becoming much more than a blip in time. As it turns out, it was the beginning of a veritable turning point. To be sure they didn't win the argument, as such, for it was never their aim. But through their efforts I began to realize that they were seeing something that I could not, and this scared me.

To illustrate why this scared me, I'll use Carl Jung's* four- paned window. He used this window to divide knowledge about ourselves into four categories. Each pane represents one of the following:

  1. That which we know about ourselves that others know too, i.e. I'm not a sports fan, I love sweets.
  2. That which we know about ourselves that others will never know(nope, still not telling!)
  3. That which we don't know about ourselves and others don't either, i.e. our subconscious.
  4. That which we don't know about ourselves, that others do know.

Number4 is by far the worst, for if others knew good things about us hopefully they'd tell us. For this reason I think it safe to assume the attributes in pane 4 do not reflect the positive or good. This was what my family was attempting to convey, but were having a dickens of a time doing it. Had they not loved me, I doubt whether they would have persevered as the conversation was filled with emotion and was somewhat unpleasant. But they did persevere. Real learning took place when the door was opened in my mind to the possibility that I needed to learn; that in fact, I was missing some pearl I really needed to possess.

Building on the previous post I think this is an example of how we can grow in Christ through his Body. It was not "my family" that was challenging me as much as it was the Body of Christ. They could have perhaps joined with me and said just as truthfully "Yea! Those C.E.O.'s are just a bunch of greedy jerks". As for me, I'm glad they didn't; I'm all the better for it.

*Carl Jung was the person my junior high teacher told me was the creator of this illustration. I have since been told that it was Voltaire, so now I'm not sure who's idea it was; any help would be appreciated.


Mary Lee said...

Its called the Johari Window. It was created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955. For more information go to and type in Johari Window. I learned about this in a psychology class

Penless Thoughts said...

Another great post, Danny. Don't you love those "ahah" moments? I do!

janelle said...

I've definitely had moments like that...:-/ Good post! :-)

Pat Jenkins said...

the humility in this post is a welcome and touching!! i must ask though are you still the big union man?

Incognito said...

Epiphanies are wonderful. I think it's less to do with continuing to be a Union advocate as releasing the bitterness within.

I'm very pro-Union. At least our acting unions.

danny wright said...

Thank you so much marylee, penless and janelle, BTW, janelle you've been MIA for awhile haven't you?

Pat, for a whole host of reasons I'm not. Your question has caused me to consider a post on the subject.

incognito, You are absolutely right. Bitterness is a prison.

Douglas Groothuis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


I know this isn't the point of your article but interestingly, I have learned to forsake the bitterness I have for my employer and still remain a union supporter. Unfortunately it's because employers like mine that there's a need for unions (does the term "sweat pump" come to mind >BG). Plain and simple, I work hard for my employer but wouldn't work for them without union representation. To further elaborate, I'm a tool like a screwdriver to them, without my union they would use me like a chisle.

danny wright said...

Hmmm Anonymous, I've known some "sweat pumps" in my day, and some good screw-drivers too; back before I submitted my resignation to society. The screw-drivers fancied themselves "cowboys" as one liked to say... ahh, sing. Would you be knowin anything about this?

Anonymous said...

Ding ding ding, a winner!

ATP now, A&P then.

danny wright said...

I need to call you. I am ashamed that I havn't before now, so expect one.