I sat back in my seat astounded at what I’d just been told.
Right after my son’s wedding, in the line up, friends of his parents spent time shaking my hand and informing me how blessed my son was to be marrying into such an influential family, because I’d never have to worry about him again… One mealy mouthed woman with her hair wrapped in a coil, wearing overly modest clothing to cover the fact that she was someone’s wife, proceeded to inform me that “Even though he was raised poor, he’ll never know what it means to NEED anything, ever again.”
I suddenly felt dirty.
The next person in line was a good friend, one of those friends you rely on when you need someone to call. And he was a senatorial representative elected by his district to represent the people who lived there. I didn’t live in his district. He reached across the woman and gave me a hug. He whispered, “Don’t listen to that beastly woman, she doesn’t know you.”
Suddenly instead of feeling dirty and unworthy, I was alarmed that this woman who had so distinctly put me down and made me feel undeserving would have access to my son’s in-laws, and say such things to them. OR worse, they’d implied such things to her.
A few people later in the line, most walking around this absurd woman who wouldn’t shut up and let go of my hand, another friend leaned in for a hug, and reminded me that “God had blessed ME with the young man, their daughter had chosen to marry.”
Her grip on my hand lessened and I was able to pull it free and direct her to the next person in line.
Over the next several months, on several occasions, I was forced to endure that same woman’s presence. I struggled to overcome the spirit of negativity she aroused each time I saw her. One event, my granddaughters dedication, sent me into a serious downward spiral as I recognized her attitude in others. Sitting through the church service, a series of testimonials by other women of the same faith, I realized the problem I had with her was compounded by the lack of confidence reiterated during those services. Each of the women who testified had read scripted testimonials ‘approved’ for their ‘moment in the spot light’. I tried hard to remember if that was a prerequisite to speaking in that particular church, and I didn’t remember any such limitation, or behavior from other times when I attended the church.
Then, during the dedication, my son was excluded from the dedication, because he hadn’t accepted membership.
Several months went by and I was faced with a different situation, in another church.
Dismissed by yet another family, as somehow ‘unworthy’ of their acceptance.
At first, it bothered me… Then it angered me.
Who are they to determine whether I’m acceptable or not? Their daughters selected my sons, to be their husbands. Why? Because my sons were raised to RESPECT others. Not just women, but people. All people. My sons were taught to respect ALL people.
These people raised daughters who want more than judgmental, controlling, fools looking down their noses at them, disapproving their choices. Our family doesn’t judge others in that way. We just don’t. We tend to love, honor, and respect other people, and their choices, instead.
Does this mean we’re perfect? Far from it.
We’ve been through the ringer of life, and we came out on the other side with experience, and the sense to look for the good. We seek the best you offer, and don’t condemn you for where you’ve been, or what you’ve become. Tolerance isn’t in our vocabulary, because we offer more. We accept and love you where you are, because we can’t encourage you to become better if we’re busy condemning who you are now.
You are worthy. You are enough. God created you for such a moment as this, and we appreciate the person you’ve become.
Let’s all become better people and grow with our experiences from here forward….
As for those who judged me wrongly, you’re forgiven. I’m not accepting your judgement; I’m praying for God to give you favor and understanding, leading you to be the best you can be.