Eighty-degree sunshine is a love language all by itself, but throw in two of my children and lunch outside of a Chick-fil-A and it was a recipe for mom-hood fun. Christine, JR and I were enjoying each other’s company while we soaked up the vitamin D and sandwiches, when a car pulled up and the driver asked if I knew where the Walmart is. I told her I didn’t.
The truth is that we were on our way home from a dental specialist for my daughter, so I didn’t go to that area frequently, nor do I go to Walmart much. The woman drove on toward the building, clearly disappointed with my answer.
While she drove, I pulled out my iPhone, and searched to find the Walmart just ½ mile down the road. If the woman circled back toward me, I was ready with the answer.
She DID circle back toward us, and rolled down her window, but before I could tell her the answer I had found, she broke into my beautiful day and shouted:
“I got the information I wanted from the officer inside, but you disgust me. I am from New York, and it tells me a lot about North Carolina schools that you stupid people don’t even know your area!”
I sat stunned with a million “comebacks” in my head, while she drove away, not waiting for my response. I laughed.
“Did she call US stupid?” asked J.R.(age 7).
“I think it tells me that schools in New York teach people to be mean!” laughed Christine (age 8).
I was glad the lady had rolled up her window before I had had my chance to reply, since it probably would have involved similar thoughts to my kids’, plus maybe some other cursory comments. (…if I could have stopped laughing long enough to respond!)
Lack of self-control looks silly on people.
It’s sad to me how easily labels flowed into my mind, fortunately not out of my mouth, but equally sinful.
She had attached my ignorance to the state of North Carolina. My heart responded by attaching her rudeness to her state, the place she shopped, the kind of car she drove, her hair color, her skin tone, anything that was different than my own. There must have been a cause for her rudeness. Haha! How did my sunny picnic succumb to those stormy thoughts so easily?!
It reminded me that we attach labels by nature: sinful nature. My children didn’t need to be taught “the art of comebacks” to mirror her labeling. They did it naturally. And unfortunately, so silently did I.
I heard a story recently of a soccer player who was going to take out a disagreement from the field in an off-the-field location, so the opposing team’s player would know he meant business. His teammate said, “You can’t do that. A referee could see you and disqualify our team from the tournament!”
The boy replied, “Well, I’ll change into plain clothes first, so they don’t know what team I’m on.”
In a high-calling, there are no “plain clothes.” The One who knows our thoughts and actions doesn’t assign labels for what shirt we wear, car we drive, state in which we went to school, or even knowledge of our local shopping. He cares about the thoughts we have of people He created, and if we love them as we love ourselves. I’d like to be proud to wear the shirt of His team.
Really, the woman was frustrated, maybe late, maybe needing medication that Walmart provided at a discount :), and it came out with lack of self-control. (Haven’t I been there?!)
But she showed me a window into my thoughts where I need to work as well.
After all is said and done, I want to be proud to wear my uniform for Christ, and never take it off.
Gotta go – I need to add “know where the nearest Walmart is” to my homeschool curriculum!
Blessings and smiles,
Matthew 25:40 (Jesus speaking): “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
Matthew 5:21-22 (Jesus speaking): “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”