I changed my mind when I awoke this morning. I was grateful rather than annoyed. Grateful that I have only had to endure three rude remarks about my appearance (that I can think of) in my 37 years of adulthood.
Sure, I was called four eyes in elementary school. My sisters said plenty of mean things when we were kids and I was so skinny that the boy I had a crush on in 6th grade said, “When you turn sideways, you disappear.” But those comments didn’t bother me. My mom had told me the story of the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan. That was going to be me.
Besides, we were kids and kids say stuff like that whether they mean it or not. I didn’t believe that they meant it.
But adults should know better.
So when I was twenty six and two construction workers called me a poodle as I walked past them wearing my perm-gone-wrong, it DID bother me. What gives you the right to comment on my appearance? No matter, I thought, you two will always be rude, miserable human beings but my perm will relax and my hair will grow out and I will be right back to being fabulous inside and out.
When I was 30 and I had not lost my pregnancy weight soon enough for my first husband’s liking, God replaced him with someone who would never dream of criticizing my appearance. (And soon after he left I became screaming fit. Take that sucker.) Sorry.
When I was assaulted with rude remark #3 last week, at the age of 55, by a fellow 55 year old, I felt sucker punched. It’s been 25 years since I last encountered that sort of remark from an adult and I sure wasn’t prepared for it. My first thought was, You’re an idiot. And then I wrote the writer of the remark off as someone who, WITHOUT DIVINE, MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION, will never be a grown up.
So, I am praying for divine, miraculous intervention.
And I am thinking about the people who endure those types of rude remarks on a regular basis. People like my sister who live with a perpetually rude, perpetually immature husband; people who live and work among the perpetually snarly and immature every day. And I am grateful that I can count my assaults on less than one hand.
We started a new book in Bible study this morning: Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. It is my first exposure to Ann and I think I am going to really like her. The first video session was beautiful, heartbreaking and poetic. Ann’s manner of speaking is warm and gentle. When she challenged us to list five things for which we are grateful, my mind went back to this morning’s first thought.
And then it went to four more:
I am grateful for beautifully arranged words and the ability to hear, read and appreciate them.
I am grateful for hearts and hands that are courageous enough to open themselves to receive ALL the gifts God has for them. May my heart and my hands be one day counted among them.
A line from an old Susan Ashton song has been running through my head as I’ve gone about my week:
“I long for the shape of things to be true to their form:
Love in a circle, hearts in a line, molded by sacred design.”
I am grateful for God’s orderliness, for His sacred design, for His molding and shaping of us.
I am grateful that God has not given up, will not give up.