Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Woman of Walmart

I saw her before I even parked the car.

It was no wonder, really. She was kind of hard to miss. Based on the wrinkles and crafted eyebrows and teased hair, I judged her to be in her late 70s, probably older.

It wasn't her face that I noticed, though. It was her face in relation to her outfit.

It wasn't just the brown Mary Janes with the white knee socks...
It wasn't the shorts that landed at least six inches above the knee...
It wasn't even the white shirt with the turned up collar.

It was that this white shirt with the turned up collar was left completely unbuttoned, revealing a white sports bra and an even bigger white mid drift.

I admit it. I instinctively reached across the seat for the shiny red Kodak. It only took a few seconds to realize that I didn't actually have the nerve to snap a picture, but reach for it I did.

I prided myself on my discretion.

Then, I pulled Ebenezer into the nearest available space, and for some oddball reason tried to catch up with her. It wasn't hard. If her wardrobe didn't match her age, her pace did.  She was only about six feet ahead of me when she walked through the door.

That's how I heard the laughter.

There, standing just inside the door was a gaggle of gorgeous co-eds.  When the Woman of Walmart pushed her cart past them, they literally fell on each other in a round of laughter so loud that other shoppers turned to see the reason.

For about a half a second, I had the audacity to be appalled by their behavior.  I shook  my head in wonder at a generation that would openly laugh at another person, an elderly person at that. I think my nose was raised about an inch and a half when I heard the voice.

You know the one.

This time, it sounded eerily close to my own voice, teaching a certain passage just a few short weeks ago.

Judge not, that you not be judged. 
(Matthew 7:1)

Riddle me this, Blog Land:
 What's the difference between the laughing co-ed and the snickering blogger?

The volume. 

That would be the earthly volume, actually. Somewhere in the heavenlies, a Father was grieving over the deafening sound of my laughing heart.

That's where all judging takes place after all. I had judged the Woman of Walmart just as surely as those giggling co-eds. I was just a little bit less honest about it. I had done what Jesus specifically warned me not to do. 

That's what Matthew 7:1 is after all. It's a warning.

Oh sure, it's technically a command. (The verb is an imperative for all the other grammar geeks out there.)  I like to tell my class to think of it differently, though. Think of it, I tell them, as the sort of command you give to your child when you say, 

Don't touch the hot stove.

That's a command, isn't it?  Depending on your child's proximity to said stove, it's probably a pretty strong command, too.  Every parent out there, however, knows that this sort of command is really a loving warning.

... because you'll get burned. 

And so it is with Matthew 7:1. That admonition not to judge is more than just a command. It's a heavenly plea from a loving Father who doesn't want us to have to learn the hard way what happens when we do. 

Judging others opens the door for us to be judged as well, not just by others but by God himself. 

If it's good for the goose you know...

I stood there for another second or two trying to wrap my head about the mini lesson that God had taught me in the short distance from car to door. I decided to make things right with the Greater Judge and take my licks with the lesser ones.

Then I tugged down the top hovering over last year's capris, sucked in my belly and ventured forth. I would have rearranged the underwear that had developed a case of the creeps as well, but it's not wise to do the panty pull whilst running the gauntlet.

How I was judged by the co eds, I do not know.
I only hope that I was judged by my Father to be a child who had learned her lesson for the day.

Don't touch the burner, friends.
You're going to get burned.

Comments off for Sunday

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