Many years ago, we had an eighteen-month-old foster daughter who was the sweetest little girl you’d ever want to meet. We took her into our family when she was three months old, just a little bundle of potential, but already I could tell she’d be a loving person. And always ready for fun.
She loved to play dolls with my five year old daughter. They were inseparable really. It was heartwarming to see how well they bonded, which made my toddler’s behavior one day so unexplainable.
She normally woke up from naps with a huge grin and a hug for mom. But not that day. She was grumpy and quick to dissolve into tears. Even the offer of her favorite snack wouldn’t lure her into a good mood. What’s going on?
No fever. No new teeth popping up. Hmmm. I was really hoping it wasn’t the ‘terrible two’s’ making an early entrance.
After two days of this, the whole house was tipping to one side. None of us could figure out what was wrong. Our little girl’s once booming appetite continued to nosedive, right along with her attitude.
Day three arrived. So did the answer to her sudden change in personality. I walked into her room to get her ready for the day, and noticed some random red spots on her tummy. Looking a her back, yep, same thing. Holy Cow. This child has the chicken pox.
Of course she’d feel crabby. My five-year-old had her own case of it two weeks before, and I just figured that our toddler dodged it. Yeah well, not so much.
Whenever I think back to that morning, I’m reminded of the saying, “You never know what people are going through.” I thought my toddler was just acting out. Little did I know she was beginning her battle with that hidden virus.
I’ve encountered salespeople who were rude, short-tempered, or just downright dismissive. I’m sure you have too. It’s very easy to get offended, or to be tempted to respond in kind. “How sad that people can let their negative emotions pop to the surface so easily,” we think. “Why can’t they just look at the bright side of life?”
But now I understand a little better. How do I know what that rude salesperson is facing in his own life? Flat tires. A failing relationship. A rejection letter in response to an application. These are only a few of the reasons that could have reached into his life and tipped the scales toward bitterness.
Maybe that person is really suffering today.
And whether it’s true that the crabby, impatient people we meet are facing hardships or not, I can still respond with calm and patience because I’ll just never know. I think it’s much better to treat someone with kindness and think the best, than to get angry and think the worst.
Our foster daughter sailed through the chicken pox, and went on to be the happy little girl we knew she was.
That gives me a lot of hope. Who knows? With a little kindness and patience from me, that sales clerk might make a fast recovery too.
Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook
Dear Friends, I’ve decided to take the summer off from blogging. We have some trips planned, and family visits too, so I know it would be hard to keep up here. I hope you all have a restful and blessed few months, and I’ll see you back here in September!
I may still post on the Facebook page for the blog from time to time, so I hope to see you there.