This last week I made a major mistake at Bible study...it was our first time meeting since taking a break for the month of July, so I felt it was important to attend even though I woke up less than enthusiastic about going out (we've been super, super busy for the last week and a half!). Besides, Delia really wanted to go and have some fellowship with the ladies, so off we went.
Even fortified with a second large cup of coffee, I was still not quite "with it" as we walked into church...not to excuse anything, but sometimes these cross-cultural things take a lot of concentration when they don't come naturally! As I walked in, there were two ladies by the door helping carry chairs over to the tables...one American missionary lady, one Mexican. I did not expect to see Linda, the ex-pat and got distracted by that fact and completely forgot to greet Licha, my Mexican friend, right away and with as much enthusiasm as I had greeted Linda.
Now, if you know anything about Latin culture at all, you will know that greetings and goodbyes are super important...ignoring someone by not greeting them is a huge insult and communicates to that person that they are beneath you or that they are not important to you. So imagine my embarrassment as Licha came up behind me and softly asked, "Aren't you going to greet me, too? You are going to make me feel badly!" Oops, major oops! I immediately realized what I had done and asked for her forgiveness and gave her a hug. She was very kind to forgive me, and perhaps even knows that we foreigners can be a bit different in this area...
But you know, I am so glad that she did feel free to point out my mistake because she could have chosen to remain silent. Had she done so, she might have continued to feel badly about the whole thing and let it come between us, and I would not have recognized my mistake and learned from it. I am very thankful she found the courage to bring this to my attention...bravo for honesty and courage in relationships!