Monday, February 28, 2011

when do we step in? DO we step in?

I was sitting at McDonald's earlier eating my lunch when a grandmother and her granddaughter,  no more than 10 years old, sat behind me. I was looking at Twitter on my phone and the older woman's words drift into my ears.

"Why did you wear that? That shirt looks terrible. Why didn't you wear a headband. You're going to have to wear a headband every day for your hair to look good." and so on and so forth. A full 10 minutes of that.


I wanted to turn around and scream at that lady saying "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO THIS POOR GIRL?!?!?!"

She just sat there and took every single bit of it.  She timidly spoke up once to offer an excuse as to why she wasn't wearing a headband.

She didn't have one to match that outfit.

I like to listen to what's going on around me. Something I've been more focused on since reading the 'ears' chapter in Annie's book. But I really wish I hadn't heard this. Mostly because what do you do? As a Christian? As another woman? As  a granddaughter that has felt the sting of words from someone you thought loved you?

I can't remember a nice thing my paternal grandmother said about me. Or to me. For at least the first 17 years of my life.

Now, don't worry, this story has a happy ending. {Maybe?}

I never remember feeling 'enough' with her. 

Not smart enough.
Not skinny enough.
Not talented enough.

I remember my 13th birthday. I opened a present from her. It was a black velvet maternity shirt. I never had the courage to ask her, "It was just a mistake, right? You didn't mean to get me a maternity shirt? Right?"

I never wore that shirt. I couldn't. It was a beautiful shirt, but it served as a constant reminder in my closet of what I wasn't.

When we moved from Dallas to Mississippi (and away from her), a month after my 13th birthday. I did. not. miss. her. at. all. I didn't want to talk to her. I didn't want to see her. At the time, I think I would have been just fine if I never saw her again in my life. She was a person, that while we had happy memories, I don't remember a fondness for her at all for the first 13 years of my life.

Her words stuck with me. The cutting-to-the-heart kind. The lies that I always believed in deepest darkest parts of my mind.

She came to Mississippi 5 years later for my high school graduation. She got to hear her granddaughter address her classmates as someone that had succeeded. That was voted the 'best' 'all-around' student by her teachers. Now I don't exactly remember what she said, or even if she said anything. But for the first time, I saw someone that loved me, but that just didn't know any better than to take their words out on someone that was helpless to defend themselves.

Funny how the smallest things take you back, heh? I love my grandmother now. Is she perfect? By no means. But I do genuinely love her. I enjoy talking to her on the phone these days. I hurt when she hurts. But I also realize that the stuff I heard all those years were lies. That I "don't need to become anything but His."

What would you have done if you were me in McDonald's today? Do we have a responsibility to say something? I FIRMLY believe in honoring your father and mother (and in turn, grandparents).  But really...what do you do? I'd be interested in hearing your opinion.

I'm so thankful God brings healing.

That we don't have to live with lies.

That He brings truth.

That He IS truth.

1 comment:

  1.! Did we have the same paternal grandmother? Exactly how I felt! As for the situation in McDonald's, I probably wouldn't have said anything directly, but would've made it a point when the little girl passed by me that I really liked her outfit or her hair or something...just to give her a boost that others did notice and make her feel that she was special.



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