She said to me, “I have something to tell you and don’t be offended.” I should have shut her down but I decided to hear her out. In my quest to develop the virtues of humility and patience, I decided to try my tactic of taking criticism. Smile and say thank you very much drawing that to my attention. I will think about it. If the criticism was valid I would pray for myself and if it was invalid I would pray for the other person.
I had just run into a childhood friend who also attends our church with her three daughters. I wrapped up that conversation and was about to start another one with the mother of my elder son’s best friend. I paused that conversation to listen to what this lady had to say. Apparently what she had to say was extremely important for she was wringing her hands in an agitated state. I thought it was having the baby on my hip. I thought it could be the way in which I was holding the baby. Many older women approach me in public as I look younger than I am and admonish me for the way I hold my child. I should support my child’s back. However they are oblivious to the numerous packages I have in addition to a wriggling baby. Instead of helping the situation, they offer their critical advice.
She finally got the chance to speak and she informed me that I should not let strangers touch the palm of my baby’s hand for they can spread diseases and the baby may become sick. I was offended. She had spoken death on my son. Nevertheless I swallowed my pride and told her thank you. When she left, I discreetly but noticeably rolled my eyes at my friend to silently communicate my frustration. She silently communicated her assertion with a flabbergasted look as if to say, “the nerve of some people”. I said a silent prayer to God for her and continued my conversation.
I wanted to let it go but I took the comment personally. That person to who she referred was not a stranger but a dear friend. I wanted to go back to the store where she worked and tell her that her words were offensive. However she thought that her advice was necessary. How could I rise above this situation and let all involved benefit from it. If I am fortunate to run into her again, I will tell her that she was fortunate to run into someone like me who could take criticism and turn it into a positive element. I would also give the advice, which all of us should follow. Watch your words. Ensure that they build up instead of tear down people. Think about what you say before you say it. People’s feelings and emotions are severely affected by words. Thinking and praying on the situation brings closure and gives the strength to let it go.