Patrick and I are having an awesome getaway. We spent the day prowling around Toronto: buying presents for the kids and enjoying the sunshine. Today I'm wearing a beautiful blue sweater from my mom, and I feel gorgeous in it. It makes my belly pop, and I'm pretty happy about this baby, so I kind of like that I'm obviously showing these days.
Just as we were walking back to the hotel so I could enjoy putting my feet up a bit, we passed some people sitting on their front step. I smiled politely at them like a good Canadian, and suddenly one of the women shouted at me, "Oooh biiiig woman!"
Yup. She was calling me fat.
We kept walking. I wanted to tell her off, to call her on her rudeness, to dismiss her as trash. I wanted to say lots of mean things, because I was hurt.
I've always been sensitive about my size, but on this day when I was feeling especially lovely and evidently pregnant, it seemed to hurt extra.
My sister's yoga instructor recently encouraged her class to practice walking outside with their hands turned - palms up, 'to receive what the universe has to give.' So the next time she walked her dog, my skeptical sister decided to give it a shot. She uncurled her fists and flattened her palms toward the sky. And when she looked down to see what she'd been given, she had to laugh. In her hands were two unsurprising items: a flashlight and a bag of dog poop. Her life tools, perhaps?
And it keeps sticking in my head because it's funny - and kind of true in a big simple sense. The things people give us can either make it easier to walk our path - like flashlights - or they can make it harder - yep, like piles of dog poop.
And when I'm walking along minding my own business and someone hands me a big stinky glob, I just want to hurl it right back. Which, I know, is precisely the opposite of what Jesus wants me to do. Because He gave me His lamp - His word - and it says to do good to those who are unkind to me.
So I get to choose. Every time. Do I return evil for evil, or do I turn on my flashlight and step around it instead?
Today, turning on my flashlight looked like walking by without retorting. Even though I'm pretty fiery of temper. Even though she was mean. Even though I felt my face burn with a pretty harsh combination of anger and embarrassment.
I get to choose. And sometimes I do let my temper reign, and find myself regretfully cleaning it up later. But for every stinky mess I encounter, God quietly reminds me I am not without light.
God bless you, friends. May your sidewalks always be clear - and if they aren't, may your flashlight be bright.