She Yelled and Called Me Names

she-yelledPulling my car into the drive-thru line at Starbucks, I wondered why it was a dozen people deep. It wasn’t raining, yet it seemed everyone was driving through today. I was transporting three dogs to the groomer, and there was no way I could leave two wild Shih-tzus and one crazy Bichon alone while I went inside for my daily dose.

Millie, the Bichon, sat on my lap licking the window.

As I peeled her away from the glass, I saw the woman.

She sat across the parking lot, leaving just enough room for a thoroughfare, as she too was waiting in the Starbucks line. I smiled, and gestured to her. It went something like this: “Are you next, or am I?” Really, I was fine either way.

She was not.

Thinking I was trying to snag her spot of next up, she gunned her Suburban, rolled down the window, and let out a string of expletives that made me blush. Millie barked back a retort.

“Go ahead, please,” I said. “I wasn’t sure who was first.” I pulled Millie back onto my lap, so she could see I had been dog-distracted and truly didn’t know who was next.

She didn’t buy it. She continued with the name calling without taking a breath. I won’t write them down here, but the main mantra shared initials with the number one social networking site.

Then something really strange happened.

Instead of getting mad or yelling back at her, a sense of empathy invaded me. I looked at her again, and this time I saw someone different, someone who wrenched my heart. Her eyes were red and puffy. Her hair was pulled back in a natty ponytail. She held her phone in her palm, glancing down at it every few seconds. And she was driving that big ole’ gas hog of a Suburban, my own car of choice when I had three kids at home and a carpool.

Dear God. I was looking at myself ten years ago. Same car, same ponytail. Same frustration.

We’ve all been there. Dog vomits on the sofa. Both kids have strep throat. The garbage disposal chooses today to break, when you are trying to disintegrate moldy fridge leftovers.  Husband is mad because you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning and he’s going on a business trip. Sound familiar?

And by the way, was that him she had been talking to or texting?

She gunned forward, just to show me that she could.

I left her a wide berth, smiled at her splotchy face. She shot me a sideways scowl, mouthed the mantra again.

Pulling up to the loudspeaker behind her, I said “I want to pay for whatever the woman in front of me has ordered. And please tell her I hope she has a better day.” I meant every word.

The woman idled in front of me for a good four minutes, talking to the barista who had leaned out the window. She shook her head and handed over a bill. She drove around the side of the building slowly, this time no gunning. Hmmm.

“No takers, huh?” I said to the barista as I pulled forward.

“Nope. She said she couldn’t believe you wanted to pay for her drink after all the names she called you. She said she couldn’t allow it, and said to tell you she was sorry. She felt really bad.”

“Did you tell her I hoped she had a better day?”

“Yep. She said thanks— that she already was.”

“Good to hear.” I smiled and handed her a dollar to put in the tip jar.

As I drove away, I began to cry. Not because I had been called so many terrible names, but because God had answered my very recent prayer—which was that He would allow me to see people as He sees them, not as I see them.

That I might be able to see the hurting inside, instead of just the hurtful outside. And maybe a few tears were of gratitude and amazement that He always shows up with an answer when I sincerely ask.

Have you ever had an experience that made you see someone in a new way?

Photo Credit: shinji_w , Creative Commons

Reprinted from Susan Basham’s Blog, http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/she-yelled-and-called-me-names.  Talk about finding God in everyday life!

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235 Responses to She Yelled and Called Me Names

  1. Pingback: Love | Liahona Journey

  2. Wry says:

    Love overcomes, love never fails. But if love has not conquered our hearts in the first place, we will not be able to overcome the world (with love) through our own strength.

  3. Pingback: What It Is To Be Human | Blink

  4. sylvia pedro says:

    this is so true,dont do as they do,weve been there too,just show good over bad everytime.

  5. Gershom says:

    What a beautiful and powerful experience. 😀 May the Lord continue to bless you and may He do the same with all our hearts 🙂

  6. A good lesson for all of us!!

  7. Jorge Barba says:

    Mind blowing:) Very true about the the outward expressions of very deep inner pains! God bless her:)

  8. This is an amazing post! Thank you for sharing this. Now I’m going to go and have a good cry.
    Leslie

  9. Pilgrim Jet says:

    Beautiful testimony! Simple story yet very meaningful! God bless you!

  10. Richard R says:

    Recently having a difficult time with someone who is in a rough spot himself and getting better,I’ve been able to share some nice comments about him to others. I’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing backwash of good feelings it gives me to sat something nice. It’s a win win.

  11. Ryl says:

    this is so touching. I think I should start praying that same prayer too. that God will lend me His eyes so I can see these people who are hurting.

  12. Pingback: Self-generated deep compassion | Cubik's Rube

  13. Perry says:

    This is how priests pray to be able to see people in the Sacrament of Confession. Thanks be to God.

  14. Selah Vita says:

    what an awesome story…thanks for sharing it with us bloggers…we can all learn from a heart after God…you are truly an encouraging breath of fresh air 😉

  15. Linda says:

    Reblogged this on truly linda and commented:
    This is a beautiful picture of mercy. What the world might be if we all chose to look beyond the surface . . . . Thank you for sharing!

  16. Laurel Gray says:

    Well done! Love never ends….I wish more people could see this. What an example for others!

  17. Karen says:

    This touched me,You are a truly wonderful person with a Christian heart! I, too, am encouraged to pray that I am able to see other through Him not through my eyes or the eyes of the world. Thank you!

  18. Steve Simmons says:

    Thank you, both for your actions and the writeup. You make a fine example.

    • Linda Evans says:

      I have said for years, that if we look at others through the eyes of Jesus and see what He saw from the cross and before, we could see people as He sees them. It is difficult to get angry or stay in anger and unrest over others and what they do when we exercise this sight. We may get upset, or angered over situations, friends, family, etc., Carrying a grudge or unforgiveness is a sign of how little love is in our heart, and how little we understand what Jesus did for us.

  19. Pingback: She Yelled and Called Me Names | No Teenage Drama

  20. Gail says:

    Thanks be to God for filling you with His mercy, grace and love of Jesus.

  21. Jimbo says:

    good stuff!

  22. Bob says:

    this is just what I needed, I had a rough day thank you for posting

  23. Mary L. Rhode says:

    Beautiful story, we are to exemplify Christ and you did. I pray that I can be as gracious and have the mercy that you showed this woman. She was definitely taken back by your mercy and love that you showed her. Thank God for your love and willingness to walk like Christ.

  24. Diane says:

    Thank you for sharing this event. This woman was dealing with a grief in her life. Grief isn’t always about death – something was going on in her life causing grief. As a certified grief coach and a minister’s wife, I have seen a lot of people trying to deal with a grief in their life and not know where to turn or what to do. Many people react the way this lady did, because it’s the only thing she knew to do. What a blessing the writer “saw” her pain & grief and reached out to her. Because of your kindness, she probably realized what she was doing and hopefully changed her actions the rest of the day. And, because of your kindness, you were also blessed – God truly does work in mysterious ways 🙂

  25. You are doing His work. If only we always could see people as He would have us see them.

  26. jasonlovelace says:

    Reblogged this on Standing For Him and commented:
    No Extra Words Needed: Please Read and Be Blessed………

  27. Rebekah S. Levi says:

    I had a similar experience where I accidentally touched someone’s bumper with the bumper of my car. I had went to Target after church one day . I pulled my car all the way up and inadvertently touched the bumper of the car in front of me. I actually didn’t realize it. I decided to sit in my car and pray for a while. I had to get something at the store but wasn’t looking forward to the crowds inside.
    The man and woman who owned the car in front of me came back,saw my bumper touching theirs and started with the name calling and the “we’re number one” finger. All 4 middle fingers and the name calling. I have to say I was stunned. and then what happened to the woman in the Starbuck’s drive-in happened to me. Here we had 2 young people who were sure that I was being rude to them (and the 4 middle fingers were not?), and that I was some how after them, and did this on purpose. As if touching their car bumper was an offense that warranted their reaction.
    I had no idea that someone could ever react to this situation with this response. After my shock, I realized that I could react to them, or I could “ACT” according to who I was. I began to see them with different eyes, and different perception. I tried to talk with them. No dice. They weren’t “buying” it, that this was not ON PURPOSE, and that I was NOT AFTER THEM.
    As I pulled away, I opened my car window, and they immediately perked up, middle fingers up again, as if this was going to be a fight, and they were going to love it, it seemed…..(who knows what they were thinking???)
    I said to them (realizing how this might come across….) careful in how I was saying it, I said carefully, thoughtfully and meted, “Jesus really does LOVE YOU, and he really does have a plan for your life”.
    As I pulled away, they had no time to respond, but I could see the puzzled look on their faces. I could feel this spirit of anger try to enter my life, and I stood against this while I drove, for about 10 blocks of traffic, praying all the time standing against this spirit, and it really was a spirit of anger, very murderous retaliation, and revenge. I could see what these two folks were up against. The anger they oozed.
    I finally pulled over and wept because of how overwhelming this was. and for their souls, how LOST they were, and how deep their anger towards someone they didn’t know, and how obvious all this was a projection of their own psyche and soul. I called upon the Lord and he saved me from their anger, my anger, and the ugly spirit behind all this.
    I went away with a sense of having overcome this attack, and knowing that I get to go home with myself, and with the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. What they went home with was something completely different. I truly hope that they thought about the words I spoke back to them, in the ensuing days. and hopefully this made some type of difference that I did not respond “in kind” back to them. I prayed for them that day. I hope only good will come to them so that they might see and understand their perceptions were all wrong, and perhaps they will endeavor to put things “right” in their own lives. We can hope this is what happened. It’s difficult to reach someone who is so angry at something that doesn’t exist, and never happened. They’ve made up their minds even if it has nothing to do with the reality of the actual situation.

  28. Ned No D says:

    yes, actually. I worked in a pharmacy for a long time as a technician. I have trained many new employees that we tend to see people at their worst not only physically, but emotionally. The stress of being sick, the dance of insurance companies and medications, it’s enough to drive a healthy person insane, but a mother with a sick child who has the most wicked ear infection who has been up for days… it is easy to snap. I remember an older gentleman who came to our pharmacy. He had a lot of neuropathy pain and every day life was not fun. Our pharmacy was located in the far back corner of a big box retailer who rarely had the motorized carts charged, so he had to walk all the way to the back of the store in screaming pain once a month, every month. Sometimes his insurance would require prior authorization for his meds to go through, sometimes we didn’t have it in stock because it was a new script they were trying out on him, etc. Everybody hated waiting on him. He was angry and irritable every time. I felt for him because he was obviously in pain. One day when it was slow and we were in a lull, he came up to the counter in serious pain. I asked if he was okay and if I could do anything for him. He cried. He told us about the pain he was suffering and how his family expects him to suck it up (because they felt he was playing up his multiple sclerosis), and how every pharmacy he went to dicked him over and treated him like dirt because he was an older man. It was at that point that I walked up front and grabbed one of the push wheel chairs that had a basket on it and brought it back. I asked to take my break and offered to push him around the store so he could get what he needed. He cried even more.

    After that, he would bring the pharmacy cookies. He would come in and talk to us more and became our favorite customer. He would tell us jokes, he would stand up for us to extremely irratible customers (the ones not in pain but the ones who were obviously drug pushers who were selling their oxycontin), he was genuinely happy to see us and asked us about our lives.

    I had moved states and then I got a call from my friend who worked in the pharmacy that he had passed away a year ago. It was heart breaking as he was such a huge part of our work lives thereafter. I could only imagine what that one act of kindness in a bleak moment feels like and how we changed his outlook on life thereafter.

  29. Louise Fisk says:

    God Bless you, we all need to look at both sides and to be kind to someone having a bad day.

  30. shelly says:

    So sweet and what an example of what Jesus would do! We need to stand out and be different and that LOVE is what makes ALL the difference. Anger truly is a cover up for either pain or fear. 🙂

  31. B. Rania says:

    It’s just like a miracle happening transforming anger to calming love.

  32. I wish Congress would read this!

  33. Callista says:

    Thank you, I think you’ve inspired me for a new prayer I despirately need to pray.

  34. Pingback: “She Yelled and Called Me Names” « Quill Takes Flight

  35. Spook Moor says:

    That was a very nice thing to do, empathy is an important thing.

  36. irish53213 says:

    Thanks for sharing. Always good to try and see the world from anothers perspective. Interesting that the post is sponsored by an ad featuring a very egocentric public figure from the National Football League. 🙂 Maybe I will try to see him in the same light. Though it might be challenging.

  37. Ken says:

    Most of us are not so quick witted to think of such a positive response as offering to pay until after the event. 🙂 Your story spreads the positive message that we are all responsible for our own actions and for the world and all that is in it. It is something both christians and humanists can embrace..

  38. Celia says:

    Years ago I was stopped at a red light in a neighborhood downtown where homeless people are always at the ready with their needs. I normally ignored them and thought unkind thoughts until, one day, I suddenly saw this one man as a three year old child in need. And then I saw the rest of them with those same eyes. I’ve never been the same since. I’ve considered it the time that Jesus lent me His eyes to see people the way He sees them.

  39. What a powerful message, Thank You. You used one of the FISH! Philosophies – Make Their Day!

  40. Sable Aradia says:

    Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch and commented:
    Compassion and insight are wonderful things. 🙂

  41. Katie Skites says:

    Spread the love !!

  42. It is indeed my pleasure to share this. Thank you so much for sharing the story. Love is all there is. Love is the way.

  43. bretagnebko says:

    This was beautiful, moving, and just brightened my day. The first few lines reminded me of my husband who seemingly has a mild, cool temper when faced with adversity or conflict of the like. This was a very inspiring & encouraging article that motivates me to keep a positive attitude.

    I would like to nominate you for the Liebster award. You don’t have to participate in it if you don’t want to but someone nominated me and I must pass on the torch to a select few and I feel you are a great candidate. Plus, I had fun answering the questions. I hope you accept.

    http://boblist.me/2013/10/01/my-second-liebster-award/

  44. Qaliph says:

    Phony…but ideal

  45. Pearl Horton says:

    Wonderful!!!!! I tried to teach my daughter that the only way to beat ugliness to death is with kindness. Love never fails!!!!!!! I also pray that I can see others thru the eyes of Christ!!!! God is love.

  46. Pingback: Simple things…. | journeyfromlost

  47. Hobo Moe says:

    “Let us be kind, one to another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.”

  48. Eagles Point says:

    Reblogged this on Eagles Point and commented:
    Very inspiring…proud to reblog this onto my page. If we would but allow ourselves to live outside the box, we might experience a very different reality within, and around us. Let’s be the difference in our world. Aren’t you tired of looking and sounding like everyone else by now anyway?

  49. Eagles Point says:

    I love this, sister. Thank you for sharing it, and more so, for seeking to live like this. I’m very proud of you as your brother.

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