I was very sad to learn recently that there have been a total number of 0 cases recorded of an ostrich burying its head in the sand.
First the Tooth Fairy, then Santa Claus [Father Christmas, as he was called in South Africa] and now this? What’s next, Johnny Depp?
[Just kidding, kids, Johnny is real!]
But yes, according to the American Ostrich Association, that is indeed merely a myth:
‘This tale originates from the fact that the male ostrich will dig a large hole (up to 6 to 8 feet wide and 2-3 feet deep) in the sand for the nest / eggs. Predators cannot see the eggs across the countryside which gives the nest a bit of protection. The hen as well as the rooster takes turns setting on the eggs and because of the indention in the ground, usually just blend into the horizon. All birds turn their eggs (with their beak) several times a day during the incubation period. From a distance it appears as though the bird has his/her head in the sand.’ [http://www.ostriches.org/factor.html]
In other news, I thought this card was pretty funny the first time I read it:
But it becomes less funny when that becomes our go-to place of dealing with conflict.
The general apology “for that thing I did which upset you” which doesn’t take responsibility for the specific thing which you know you did which hurt or disappointed someone. We become like the mythical ostrich [What a segue, right?] and bury our head in the sand and hope that a sweeping kind-of-apology statement will be enough.
I have learnt from experience that it doesn’t work like that. Especially in marriage, which often helps to highlight the flaws in your character, thanks to the spotlight of living in very close proximity with another person. It is important and valuable, and sometimes oh-so-hard [but oh SO completely worth it, at the very least in the long run] to look the person in the eye and apologise for the specific thing you did.
“I am sorry that I was not on time when I knew you wanted to leave at 5.”
“I apologise for not making you feel like you are not appreciated around here.”
“I am sorry you felt that the joke I made at the dinner party last night was at your expense.”
And I’m sure a lot worse and a lot less serious than those simple examples. But at the risk of sounding a little bit Dr Phil, it is important to own your sorry in a conflict. A general, “Sorry for what I may have done to hurt you” [unless you honestly don’t know, and then find out so you can apologise properly] does not actually deal with the problem head on and it will surface again at some time [and be bigger and badder.
It is not easy most of the time. But repentance and confession in relationships are such key significant things.
[And making up afterwards is not the worst thing in the world either] You really have to choose to make those a regular part of life in all of your relationships with people.
[For next Wednesday’s Together vs. Not Together, click here]
[for last Wednesday’s Strangers in a Pit, click here]
And now a picture of J. Depp just to prove he’s still real.