“And she threw down the scarf” – she jabs at the air – “and stormed out.”
I had actually taken the scarf off, set it on the pew beside me, excused myself, and walked swiftly to the rest room. Because I was crying. Because, in spite of being a major crybaby, I actually hate letting people see me cry.
But that morning wasn’t about truth. It was about peace.
So I kept my mouth shut, and listened to people tell me about my temper, and my pride, and everything wrong with me. And wished I could just go home, back to my family.
That was over a burgundy scarf. But it happened again and again and again. The dismissiveness. The lack of compassion. The putting me in my place. Over spiritual wrestling. Over facing eviction. Over health issues. Over a dead car battery.
I couldn’t do anything right. Couldn’t feel anything right. Couldn’t express anything right.
I remember this one time in college, my friend and I miscommunicated, and I reacted poorly. I mean, so poorly, I was sure she wouldn’t want to spend any more time with me, and that nobody else would either.
Later that night, she stopped by my dorm room, knocked on my door, and said, “Hey, I’m running to McDonald’s. Can I get you a Coke?”
I expected to be given a sort of time out, so I would learn my place, and I was met with grace instead.
I was huddled in front of a tiny space heater. Numb. Aching. Knots in my stomach Thinking about the dozens of things I still needed to get done. Anxious about all of the people who might have seen me that morning and discovered how vulnerable I am.
I did what I do. I wrote about it.
There were good things about that morning (so many good things), but when you’re feeling weak, and weaker still for having your weakness exposed, sometimes, you just have to get it out of your head.
And there it was again. The accusation about who I am and what I’m going through (as if the two are the same). The dismissal of my feelings, the dismissal of even expressing my feelings. The absolute lack of anything resembling grace or compassion.
Only, quite abruptly, it wasn’t acceptable to me anymore.
I am every bit as in need of grace and worthy of compassion as anyone else.
So that’s how I’m going to act.
That’s the kind of treatment I’m going to accept.
If you can’t give it, that’s your loss, not mine.