The following is a story from my daughter on a service mission four years ago in Russia.
We were in a city called Tula. I’d been in-country for only three weeks. We were in the middle of nowhere Russia, two American girls on church service. We were eating dinner when a banging on the door began. The loud knocking that turned incessant was alarming, to say the least. We weren’t allowed to open the door to strangers and the two men in black fatigues at our door were enough to encourage us to keep the door locked. Five minutes of what seemed like banging on the door passed. We watched through the peephole to see they were talking to each of our neighbors. This lasted for about twenty minutes before they came back one more time to our door to bang on it and then left. Not knowing what else to do, and not knowing who they were and if they would come back and try to get in, we snuck out of the apartment and made our way to fellow volunteers in the city. It was terrifying, and as someone who couldn’t speak the language, I found myself frustrated, afraid and tempted to be bitter at my situation and those people.
A few weeks before the incident with the two men in black fatigues, my service partner and I noticed that our neighbors in the apartment next store seemed to be going through a hard time. As an innocent 19-year-old American I felt that the only sensible thing to do was make them cookies and put them on their doorstep.
Turns out, they thought we were terrorists and called the terrorist unit of the Russian government in that city to go and question us.
A significant misunderstanding on both parts to say the least. Both of us assumed the worst of the other, one party going as far as to assume that we were terrorists.
Grudges are some of the easiest connections to form. They are born of misunderstandings, and much like my daughter who was on the verge of one with her neighbors. Miscommunication has always been an issue amongst humans, but with technological advancements where face to face interaction is more scarce than ever, we are surrounded by miscommunications. So the challenge for you this week: Find out if you are forming grudges without knowing the whole story.