There is a passage in the Bible that pretty much says that God works through our weaknesses. It is one of the many that sounds good on paper and is difficult to understand or even want to apply. Comparing our weaknesses to the good character litmus test can make a person squirm. At least it does for me. This was a week long lesson for me.
Last Sunday, during the prayer for offering, the pastor said something to the effect of we bring our gifts to you…. Since I was in the position of not being able to talk to a person-hello it was prayer time-I talked to God. I said, “My only gift is attitude.” As soon as I thought it, I proverbially smacked my head. The thought was so loud, instinct kicked in and forced a physical reaction. Anybody watching would have seen me put my hands over my mouth. I tried retracting the gift. That’s not really a good gift to give to God. It is a weakness. Before I could take it back and hide it, a voice said, “That is something, I placed in you. It’s a good gift.” Shock, awe and humility inspired me to not talk anymore.
My mind began to ponder attitude. Attitude by definition is “a strong feeling or opinion.” I definitely have those. However, my opinion veers towards believing there is good in people. A cranky person is either hungry or a formidable friend. I see cranky and think she likes to eat or I want her defending me. I can see the full picture and intentionally choose to focus on the good. I so strongly (ergo the attitude) see the good it takes people time to catch up and see what I’ve known all along. This initial conversation was preparing me for an even bigger lesson. Had I known, I might have hid.
The next lesson addressed vanity. I love hair, makeup and fashion. Simply put, vanity forces me to present my best self. On the downside it is kind of costy. This weekend I learned the benefit of what I perceived to be a potentially ignoble characteristic. It begins with two exhibits.
We have exhibit A: the vehicle full of presents.
Since we have moved to what I like to call Canada south all of our Christmas presents must be mailed. After a week of coordination and clutter getting those presents out of the house was a double delight. Too much of a delight.
Which brings us to exhibit B: the stairs.
I was so excited to get those presents into the hands of the people I love that I obliviously stepped from the top step to the pavement. The crack in my right foot and the lightning rushing through my left knee brought thunder to my head. I wanted to cry. That’s when vanity spoke up. “Is that blood on your knee going to stain your jeans?” Tears stopped, I jumped to my feet, my head cleared and an inventory of the clothing was conducted. We’re good. The crack? Did I break something? My foot was pounding. I removed my sock to see swelling and vanity gasped and spoke again, “When was the last time you painted those toes?” There was no time for pain. No doctor was going to see those toes until they were repainted. The foot soak reduced the swelling and saved me the embarrassment of being mildly melodramatic.
Vanity bought me the time I needed to act like a big girl. It made me weak enough to accept sympathy from my husband. It humbled me enough to listen to his warnings to slow down and be careful. And the conversation with God from the week prior echoed in my mind, “That is something, I placed in you. It’s a good gift.” And instead of being embarrassed, I smiled. That is until I realized the box that broke my fall was full of fragile items.