Friday, October 17, 2008

Friendly Advice

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141: 3

I have some friendly advice. When you see someone, with whom you consider yourself their acquaintance, DON'T say, "You look tired." or "Is there something wrong?" or "You need to get some sleep." or "You look like there is something wrong." or "You look different. I didn't recognize you" These comments are really reserved to be used between people who really know each other and talk regularly. However, it seems like most of the time they are used by people in passing, who make the comment without really thinking of the potential psyche damage it might do, especially on a sensitive individual (like myself).

if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!
Proverbs 6:2-3

Why do I bring this up? Well, recently it happened to me. I admit that I am a postpartum mom. I'm lucky to ever take a shower by 4 PM, step out of my PJ's, blow dry my hair, or wear shoes other than my slippers. My clothes wear proud badges of honor called drool, spit up, and food from dirty hands. My typical uniform, due to lack of self control and the unique body sculpting called bearing children, is my favorite pair of grey yoga pants and a plain black t-shirt. Unfortunately, after wearing these pants more than 5 times, they begin to look a little dingy, so I have to switch to my black workout pants with the white stripes done the leg, which aren't nearly as flattering to my birthing hips.

It was on such a day that I was wearing my black workout pants, that I needed to pick my child up from an activity at church. Normally, he comes home with Dad, but Dad was sick. I ventured out in the dark of night, not worrying about my attire, the evening would cloak my uniform. I actually thought I looked pretty decent for having not showered. I was a mom and I had on mom clothes--other moms were bound to be attendance this particular evening.

I was in for a shock when there were NO MOMS! Where did they all go? Did I forget about the uniform change? Where could I hide in these brightly lit halls? There were people everywhere and I had shown up early. Several of the retired moms (who wore jeans, slacks, pretty blouses and sweaters . . . and jewelry!) mentioned to me, mostly as I passed them in the hallway, that I looked, well . . . different. Instead of interpreting their curiosity as concern, I instantly began to question my postpartum, milk producing, whole foods, sleep deprived, homeschooling uniform. Perhaps I had misjudged. I thought I would at least get a wink or two from the "closet" moms, showing their support of my openness to show my profession in public.

However, my kind and faithful friend said not a word. After all, she knew what my day had been like, how sick my husband was, and how I desperately needed a break. But if she had said those observant comments to me, I would have deemed her sensitive and caring.

So . . . let this be a lesson to women everywhere. Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Please forgive me, if I have ever said these words to you. I was insensitive and in many ways prideful. If I see you out in your uniform, and I am not in mine, I will give you the secret mom wink.

My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. Psalm 49:3