Taking it Back

My oldest two, my girls, were arguing and fussing back and forth in the car.
Six year old Pink Princess finally threw out to her fifteen year old sister the
ultimate barb.  I stopped it with, “Apologize to your sister and take that
back.”

Pink Princess leaned forward with her hand held out to big sis
and said, “Hey, can you take that out of your ear and put it in my hand?”  Mood
broken, anger dissipated, big sis “pulled” the hurtful words out of her ear and
placed them in the stretched out hand.  Quite seriously, the hand was pulled
back to the offender’s mouth and the words were “placed” back in her mouth.
“I’m sorry,” she said.  “I forgive you,” was the reply amidst the laughter.

A few minutes passed.  Out of the side of her mouth, Pink Princess said,
“Mama?”

“Hmmmm?”

“What do I do if those words really want to come
out again and I can’t hold them in?”

This is something we all deal
with, isn’t it?  Those words either pop out and we wish we could take them back,
or we struggle with not saying something in the first place.

If only it
were as easy as retracting and stuffing those hurtful thoughts back inside.

Miss D’s Greatest Treasure

When I first met her at the park a year ago, Miss D was fairly quiet.  Kept to
herself or with a chosen few, sometimes her daughter and grandson joined her.  I
walked around offering cups of hot chocolate or coffee.  “No thank ya!” she
would bark.  When we had extra marshmallows a time or two I would walk over and
offer them for her grandson.  “No thank ya!”

One day I had some
children’s books I thought her grandson would like.  She shyly accepted them.
But from that day our relationship grew.

Miss D has three precious
grandchildren and they are the lights of her world.  It doesn’t matter whether
you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, homeless or housed…..there is nothing
like a love of a grandparent for grandchildren.  Soon she was coming over and
telling me a quick story or two about one of them, laughing with love and joy
over their antics, proud of what they could do.  If you want to see her smile,
ask her about those grandbabies.

Recently she approached me and said,
“Can I talk to you a moment over here?”  I sighed.  Several of our friends have
asked for financial help, some more significant than others.  I walked over,
worried over how to handle this request.

“My daughter and son-in-law
are having a hard time right now.  He’s out of work.  They want to move out of
that bad neighborhood they are in but they can’t right now.”

“Yes
ma’am?”

“Well, I was wondering,” she looked down and wiggled her feet. “I
was wondering if you could pray for them.”

Swallowing my shame at my
assumptions and so humbled in the moment, I reached out to her and said, “Yes
ma’am, I’ll be glad to.”

“Could you say one right now?”

I’ve never
been comfortable praying out loud.  I don’t know why, and I’ve done it before,
but it’s just not something I am eager to do.

But I did.  I said a
quick prayer in my head that God would give me the words to say aloud and then
holding hands with Miss D, I asked God to bless her children and her
grandchildren.  I thanked Him for her being such a caring person.  I don’t
really remember everything, but after “Amen” I looked in Miss D’s eyes.  She
smiled a weary smile.  “You know,” she said, “when you say a good prayer, it
goes straight up there.”  She pointed to the sky. “That was a good one.”  I
hugged her and said my own quiet prayer of thanks.

Last week, she picked
out some books for each grandchild from some that were brought to the park to be
donated.  She proudly showed them to me.  She’s saving them for Christmas
presents for those treasured children.  We talked about how excited they would
be opening them.  The question left my mouth before I thought it through, but in
my mind, I saw all those gift bags saved from Christmases past, sitting in my
closet.  “You need a gift bag?”

“Yes’m, I sure do.  You can bring me
one?”

“Well, yes ma’am, I think I can.”

“Okay, you bring me one
next Sunday, okay?”  I nodded.  “And make it a big ‘un!” She smiled her big
toothless grin and cackled with delight.

I like this much better than
where we used to be.  To share with her the joy of her grandchildren, to listen
to her worries over her daughter and her family, to laugh and to pray together.
Miss D is teaching me what is really important on this journey…..and she’s
blessing me all the way.