Still in my flannels, cocooning with Christmas lights and my favorite afghan, I decided to approach the day slowly. Goldberry Midnight Clear coffee blend and a frivolous mystery novel would be my morning fare. Jim was stretched out on the couch, shivering under blankets due to ice packs wrapped around his knees to aid in surgery recovery. As he fell into a deep sleep I dug deeper into my book.
And then, quite annoyingly, Jim’s phone notification sounded to remind us that he had a dentist appointment at 8:00 am. That gave us ten minutes to scurry around and hightail it to the office. Fortunately, the dental practice was only a short distance from our home. (I didn’t have the luxury of hanging back since Jim wasn’t cleared by his surgeon to drive yet.)
Upon arrival the hygienist whisked Jim back to the dentist chair and I got comfortable (mystery book in hand) in a cozy Christmasy waiting area. I couldn’t help but notice an elderly lady at the front counter, expressing confusion to the receptionist over her appointment date. It was evident that a scheduling mishap was causing her distress. Her back was to me, but I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was both frustrated and embarrassed. A few minutes passed before she could collect herself enough to land on a new date and time.
As she made her way to the waiting room exit with shoulders slumped and head down, I heard her muttering, “What an idiotic thing I did. I’m such an idiot.” I found it difficult to witness the extent to which she berated herself for such a simple slip up.
As carols played through overhead speakers, all she heard was shame.
Near the beauty of a lighted tree, a benign mistake became an ugly judgement.
While garland graced the counters, a graceless lie was spoken into her very being.
My heart ached for this woman. I wondered if this was the norm for the way she thought of herself. I prayed that someone would impact her self-perception with one of the most important messages the Christ child came to tell.
“You are a child of God.”
(and your mistakes do not define you)
Oh, how often do we struggle with this in our own lives?
May the voices of CHRISTmas resound.