Friday, July 12, 2013

The Lady No One Could Stand

She wasn’t pretty. In fact, she had a somewhat disheveled look to her. Who knows what her job was where I worked at, but she came around to transact some sort of business in my department now and then. Everyone avoided her as much as possible.
“She’s mean and hateful,” they would say. “She’ll bite your head off. Better to leave her alone.”

Indeed, she looked the part. Her furrowed brow, her large eyebrows, the narrow hollow eyes, the set jaw, all gave her the look of someone you better leave alone. She never had much to say, and what she did say was short and curt, in a “better leave me alone” tone. No one could stand her. But Something wouldn’t let me stop wondering why someone would want to be such a mean and disagreeable person.
Every time she would come around that thought would peak my curiosity. Besides curiosity, I also felt pity that someone could choose to live life so full of bitterness. On my own I am not that caring or sensitive but God has a way of melting my heart like heat melts a candle. My candle was being melted as the light from God to my heart was beginning to drive away the darkness.

I started to see things a little differently despite what this mysterious “everyone” said about this woman. Already having a natural distrust of majority opinion, I just had to experience this for myself. One day as she was coming down the hall to our office to make her delivery, I got in the hall ahead of her, smiled, and told her good morning. She was taken aback, and glared at me like I had offended her in some way. I kept the smile and let silence take its course. After a few moments I asked her how does she feel today. It wasn’t the customary “how are you,” but a little more personal, to suggest I really did want to know how she felt. Her face took on a startled, confused look .
“Who told you,” she snapped.
“Told me what?” A long pause and her face seemed to be losing its rigidity. The eyes widened, showing a fear and pain I had not seen before in her face. Then there were tears, sobbing tears of despair. I held her hand as she explained her terrible diagnosis: she was dying of cancer.
“I will pray for you”

She nodded, wiped away her tears, patted me on the arm, and moved past me.
Her face never had the meanness on it again that I could see. Maybe it was my vision of her now and maybe it was her vision that someone cared; that someone was praying for her. Of course, the office consensus concerning this poor woman didn't changed until one day I told them the story. It was then that their faces seemed to soften. Now, they seemed to have compassion instead of condemnation. Over the next few weeks several more people talked and became involved with this poor soul. There were hugs, more tears, and the Love of God got real for all of us and for this “lady no one could stand.”