Thursday, March 15, 2007

Do Unto Others...

So ... I thought I'd share some thoughts about my day with you.

Yeah. I know you're excited. Try and hold your pants on tight, 'kay?

After having waited for close to two ... as in 2 ... hours at the doctor's office for a strep culture, I thought I'd run some errands. You know ... a "while I'm out" kind of thing. So, I popped into AC Moore to pick up various items of a "construction-theme" for a leadership banquet our church is having this weekend (yeah, it's for our building campaign).

Anyhooo -- as I was getting out of my car to walk towards the store, I hear a child screaming at the top of his lungs. At first, I thought it was screaming, "helpme! helpme! helpme!" And, after a panicked moment of trying to digest what was happening, I realized the child was merely screaming, "mommy! mommy! mommy!" in a hysterical, I'm-gonna-die way. You know what I mean, right? After all, we've all been there. Yes ... YOU too!

So, I walked into the store, while I "sort of" rub the back of my neck (like you would if you heard nails dragging down the blackboard). Oh, okay ... I rubbed the back of my neck pretty hard ... as in, "please don't come into this store." There. I said it. Out loud. Happy?

And as I searched the sticker and paper aisle, I heard this young mother come (and, in case you were dying to know, AC Moore does NOT have a plethora of construction stuff -- princess stuff? Oh yeah. But construction stuff? Nada) .

There was another woman in the aisle I was in. I know this because I had leaned my head down into my hand to rub my forehead in an "I'm sick, and sure wish that screaming child was somewhere else" kind of way. I looked to the other woman out of the side of my hand, and she just shook her head in dissaproval.

And then I heard it. Another mother. In the aisle behind me. She said ... "My children would never do that. I would not allow them to behave that way anywhere. It was simply not accepted."

Oh. Yes. She. Did.

At that moment, my heart softened for that pour mother with the screaming banchee child. How many times had I said, "My child will NEVER do that" only to have it happen to me?

Like the time my husband's baby cousin spit up mercilessly all over me (and anyone else for that matter) with his acid reflux, and I turned to my SIL (Sunshine) with a knowing look in my eye, and said (with attitude, of course) "My child will never do that."

Only to have my child have acid reflux and projectile vomit. Nice.

Or how about the time my sister complained with a heavy heart to me that her second oldest had a tendancy to throw the vilest of temper tantrums and fits of rage that would last for hours. HOURS. And she was at her wits end. And, no sooner were we done on the phone, when I turned to my husband and said, "Our child will not act like that! EVER!"

Only to have my child throw temper tantrums if you so much as LOOK at him the wrong way. Groovy.

And then a thought crossed my mind ... "How would I feel if that were me?" Well, that would never be... Ehhh -- never mind. I can't even pull that one off, because it has been me. So, I did what any other self respecting mother who loves Jesus with all her heart and wants to spread the love around would do.

I put my items down, and walked out of the store.

To find the mother with the crying child.

And offer her my help.

She was practically in tears trying to calm her son down (who seemed to be about 4 years old). I offered to help her out, or to go in and buy her whatever she needed so she could sit with her son for a bit. She said something like, "waiting, my sister, shhh, don't know why, thanks, no, shhh, my sister, don't need anything, shhh..."

I just smiled politely and said that if she needed anything, I'd be happy to help her, because I have been where she's at, and fully understand. I think she said something like she didn't need anything now, but thanks, so I went in and finished my shopping. When I came out, she was gone.

It was a lesson I needed right now. A person in crisis. A store full of judgemental people. Where was I going to fall? Was I going to judge? Turn my pious nose up at her? Or was I going to do unto her like I would want done unto me? I really feel for her ... a young mother (oh, okay, so I'm old -- whatever) alone in store with a screaming, arm-throwing, foot-dragging, carry-me-because-I'm-going-limp, temper-tantrum-throwing child.

There wasn't really much I was able to do for her, but I hope I was a little bit of sunshine in her life today.

How have you been a little bit of sunshine in someone's life this week?


Susanne said...

Okay so I'm totally convicted! Great lesson in showing the love of Christ, Gibee!

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Actually, I was able to do something simlar last week.

A grandma, daughter, and two kids (about 1 yr and 3 yrs old - same as mine) were getting out of a vehicle next to mine in the Target parking lot. I only had my youngest that day and as I got him settled in a cart to push him in the store, the grandma let loose with a cuss-filled tirade at her daughter for not putting a jacket on the baby while she smacked the toddler for standing up in their cart.

Now that "momma bear" feeling has been reserved for my own kids so far. And, I'm not THAT old nor was this girl THAT young (LOL) but I immediately felt like I had to come to her defense. And, every ounce of energy went into not saying something to the grandma but directing some care to the daughter.

After browbeating her daughter in front of the woman's children loud enough the whole parking lot could hear, I caught up with her as she got a cart for her youngest in the store while Grandma still wrangled with the toddler out near their car. I walked up behind her, touched her shoulder, and said "don't worry about it, it's not the end of the world, they all survive just fine!"

I wish I could have done more...but I just wanted her to know that Grandma was NOT what everyone else was thinking about her and her mothering skills.

Barbara H. said...

This is definitely convicting. What a great example to actually step out and go offer to help. In the same situation I might have felt convicted for being judgmental and maybe even prayed for her, but I doubt I would have gone the extra mile.

Yellow Mama said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful post. Two thumbs up!

You are sure right...we have all been there, and if it somehow misses this generation, it for sure will happen with grandma!

momrn2 said...

The challenge has been accepted... I'm going to look for just that person this weekend! Someone to go out of my way to encourage!

Thanks for such a GREAT reminder and challenge!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. I do feel I am often sympathetic, but how often do I offer to help? Thanks for the challenge!

Sandy said...

Awesome post!
I try to make a difference, somehow, each day. It starts with my family ...

Shalee said...

Does giving my kids away to grandparents who want them count? No? Ummm, okay.

Yesterday our former babysitter who is going to get married in a couple of months came over and I gave her free reign to ask any questions about sex and marriage that she wanted to ask. (She's a virgin.) Of course she was too embarrassed to start, so I did the talking about my wedding night and some things I've learned along the way, and she opened up to ask all sorts of questions. When she left, she gave me a huge hug and said, "Thanks Sha. I needed someone to talk with me about it. I don't feel nearly as scared about the wedding night as I did earlier."

Sometimes all it takes is stepping out on a limb and to make yourself vulnerable to allay fears in others.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

What a beautiful thing you did!

Kudo's from another mom...whose children have done things like that!

Kristen said...

How wonderful of you to do that for that mom. I'm sure it was greatly appreciated even though she said she didn't need anything.

I hate it when I hear other people being judgemental of something that's going on with someone else. No one has any clue what is really going on in someone else's life and no one can ever say "That will never happen to me." Just not so. It has happened to all of us.

I admire you greatly for showing her such compassion.

SeaBird said...

As a Mom of twins who struggled with reflux/GERD for the first year of their lives, I had many moments of doing things I said I'd never do.... it was a lesson in "only judge a man after you've walked a mile in his shoes." :)

Sheri said...

Awww good for you!! It's so easy to say things without thinking (And goodness knows I've spouted out my share of comments before God sent me my now 6 year old son...guess I REALLY needed to be taken down a few notches! LOL)

Dawn said...

This is a grandma who is now going through things like this in the second generation! Although I have to admit, it's usually at my house, not at the store. Good stuff!

Stacey said...

Wow Gibee, that really made me stop about my actions and thoughts towards others! I'm going to try and be more sympathetic towards those around me! Thanks for the little life lesson today!!