The phone rings. It’s my girl.
“Hi, baby,” I say, using my softest tone reserved for my girls.
“Mom, I don’t know to do. I’m scared. I’m shaking.”
“What’s up?” My legs begin to tremble, and the hair on my arms raises.
“I’m in government class, and we’ve broken up into groups,” she whispers. “My group has decided to do a discussion about an issue that I can’t support. They all support it. But Mom, I’m afraid to speak up. I don’t know what to do.” Her voice drifts off into a lonely place. Surrounded by people, yet lonely. I’ve been there.
My heart plunges into my gut and begins to jostle around for freedom, for peace, for strength. Freedom, peace, strength for my girl. “Baby, you have to speak up. If you don’t, everyone will think that you believe it’s okay. And you won’t be okay with that.”
“I know, Mom.” Determination laces her voice. “But … I’m so scared.”
“You’ve got this. I’m praying for you.” Because we can let some things slide, but some things have to be man-handled. Girl-handled.
The phone rings.
“Hi, baby.” Hurry words … assure me. God, let her be okay.
“I did it, Mom. I think several in the group were glad I spoke up. I think they believed like me, but they were afraid, too. The leader decided that half can discuss that topic, and the other half can discuss another topic. She didn’t seem too happy about it, but …” She pauses.
I exhale a sigh of relief, then laugh. “That’s great, Baby. I’m so proud of you.” Yes, you are discovering who you are, what you believe, and that it’s okay to have a different opinion.
“One girl from the group kept glaring at me through class.”
I step into Chick-fil-A and take a seat across the booth from my girl.
“Mom, government class discussion went so good today.” She bounces on the bench. “Someone just had to bring up another controversial topic.” She nearly slumps. “But, Mom, we had such a good talk.” She straightens and smiles. “Those of us against it gave our side. We just told them that though we didn’t agree, we don’t dislike them for having a different opinion. We aren’t mad at them. One guy said that he didn’t understand why we felt the way we did, but he told me that he liked how kind I was about everything I had to say on the issue.”
One hand extended and the other accepted. The aisle between disappeared, leaving only people. Beautiful feet. Good people. Kind people. Because difference doesn’t always have to equal division. Surely, difference can be united with love.
“And Mom, he said he’d never met a Christian before.”
“He’s met one now.” I nod.
“At the end of class, we all walked out of the room, smiling, high-fiving, and talking with each other. Happy. Friends, Mom. And when I glanced over at our teacher, he shook his head, smiling in amusement at us.” She giggles. “He said, ‘Y’all are the best class I’ve ever had.'”
I shake my head gently, my lips pressing into a smile. My girl is my hero. Oh, yes. Making friends with non-likeminded people. A beautiful concept. Because one might lean right and one might lean left, but we can all lean in with kindness.
I wrap myself in the warmth of my jacket. “Baby, that’s so awesome. I’m so proud of you. I think people should be able to disagree, but love.” We mingle together in this sorted world constantly. And why not?
“Yeah. God fought the battle for me, Mom. It was such a great day. Even the girl who had been glaring at me has been smiling at me instead.”
My heart glows–my girl is acknowledging her Savior. All those years of teaching, trying to help her see and understand … yes. Thank you, Father.
Because when the soft strand of the right sweeps over the doubled over strand of the left, with a gentle reach and a little heart-tug, they come together to make the most gorgeous bow. If one tends to be right-handed. And when the soft strand of the left sweeps over the doubled over strand of the right, with another gentle reach and a little heart-tug, they come together to make the most gorgeous bow. If one tends to be left-handed. Because it’s all in the reaching, the softness, the kindness–the sweetest Christmas present to this mama, for her girl. Love bestowed by and on her girl in the difference by the different. Yes, Lord, yes.
Do you have a story of kindness to share? Merry Christmas, Y’all.