First some background information and then my story about my run-in with a peafowl. That just sounds funny — peafowl. I have found a new word for my growing vocabulary of descriptive terms for petty religious folk, peafowl.
Anyway the background.
First the expression “proud as a peacock” as found on Ask.com at http://www.answers.com/topic/proud-as-a-peacock
proud as a peacock
Having a very high opinion of oneself, filled with or showing excessive self-esteem. For example, She strutted about in her new outfit, proud as a peacock. This simile alludes to the male peacock, with its colorful tail that can be expanded like a fan, which has long symbolized vanity and pride. Chaucer used it in The Reeve’s Tail: “As any peacock he was proud and gay.”
Then the definition of “peafowl” from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacock)
Peafowl From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Peacock)
The term peafowl can refer to the two species of bird in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are best known for the male’s extravagant tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen. Although commonly used, peacock is an incorrect term to refer to both sexes. The peahen is brown.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that a female “peacock” is a “peahen.” Duh.
So here is my somewhat funny, somewhat ironic and sad, peacock story.
While I was still a pastor, I had a run-in with an older man in our church, a former pastor. I had unintentionally snubbed him by not accepting his phone call through my secretary on one very busy Friday morning. My study time that week had been consumed, and I was ready to panic. So I had my secretary divert all my calls for a two-hour block that morning.
Apparently he was one of those calls. Weeks and weeks passed by and I saw this man, attended functions with him in and out of the church, and he smiled and never said a word about his bitterness and anger toward me.
No clue until. . .
I had not a clue until he came to visit me one afternoon to confront me concerning this sin of refusing his phone call.
(Matthew 18:15 ESV) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”
He wanted me to apologize to him for not accepting the call. I refused to acknowledge I had done anything wrong but did tell him I was sorry to have offended him, that no harm was intended.
Wasn’t good enough.
He informed me that there were pastors of churches much larger than mine who would answer his phone calls anytime. At that point I began to realize what was happening. I had offended his pride. It had never crossed my mind that I was too important to answer his call; I was desperate for study time. I would think if anyone would understand this it would be a fellow pastor. But he had simmered over this incident for several weeks, and now I was going to pay for my indiscretion.
His final comments?
Now understand these words are coming from an 80-year-old man who had been a pastor for many years, was regarded as a very spiritual man, pillar in the church, etc. His parting volley: “I am not going to be your friend anymore.”
I just slipped into time-warp and I am now back on the playground in the second grade, and Becky has just shouted “I don’t like you. I’m not going to be your friend anymore.”
Okay, Dave, so where does the peacock, or peafowl (giggle) come in?
My WordPerfect discovery. . .
Some time later I was doing a spell-check in a WordPerfect document which included the names of several people in our church, including “you know who.” And did I ever get a chuckle. One of the misspellings highlighted was this man’s last name. The correction that WP offered to substitute for the word was “peacock.”