Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ever Completely Miss the Message?

I was called down to the front of the store to attend to a couple who had come in to ask for money. Passed down from my mother, I obliged. Seems they were $8 short for a place to stay the night and despite the fact that they sold newspapers all day, they did not quite make enough. At least they are trying. They asked us to order a book and much to my surprise were told they'd have to prepay. Not wanting to correct in front of customers, I let the odd "new rule" stand. After the couple left, one employee voiced their opinion loud and clear that they should not be asking for money if they are selling the "papers" and we should turn them in. Why were they ordering a book when they couldn't afford their rent? I couldn't believe all that was occurring. Another piped in that they stand too close to the road while selling anyway. Are you joking? I was angry. My thought was that it was my choice to help them, my money, my hand-me-down to give and I hoped when I fell a little short in my day, I would have someone around to help me. But...I completely missed what God sent. And this is how I discovered it. I talked to the 3rd employee present and said that I couldn't believe the reactions to my tiny bit of aide to this couple. I went farther to say that I might order that book and give it to the girl as a gift. Heck, she wants to read a Christian book. Let's get it to her. And then...the next morning. I headed to morning Mass (example handed down by my parents) and opened my Magnificat magazine (again something my parents use) and the MEDITATION! He didn't send the couple. It was the reaction by the employees that I was supposed to handle. I quote...
"This is my experience as a weak and fragile woman. I know that many times I, too, lost those moments. When I reflected on my life and really saw how often this happened, I said to myself, 'Look at what I lost. How immature I was!' When someone criticizes or reprimands you, and you respond by defending yourself, the other young men in Community say, 'You've missed the boat! What we mean is you've missed the 'boat' of maturity, of self-control, of the capacity to be quiet." Mother Elvira Petrozzi, foundress of Comunita Cenacola
As all can see, I completely missed the challenge, the opportunity. I stewed, I complained and I felt like the little bit I did was criticized as the wrong thing to do. I was wrong not in the giving but in my reaction to the comments. Well pop me in the head. Lord, help me to mature.


  1. ok, I understand to mature past the need to defend myself, but what about defending the good out of this situation and using it as a teaching moment for those who complained? What if those people needed to also be shown a lesson in having a generous heart and hand? Is it better to be silent when a teaching moment could occur? What are your thoughts?

  2. Thanks Sarah. My reaction was anger which completely negated for me the act of kindness to that couple. I actually forgot about the couple and sat in fury for over an hour. It's not that the act was not part of the message but the reaction, for me, ruined the act. And, I couldn't even see it until given another message the next day. Don't think I'm beating myself up. I'm just sharing a small way of God wanting more from me and never giving up that He may help me to find more in Him. And, the very next day is the reading on Lazarus! So, yes, I know there was a lesson in having a generous heart. He kindly brought me full circle.