Mrs. Edna from my childhood days would’ve said those ladies had diarrhea-of-the-mouth.
This is the lunch counter where it happened, where I learned a lesson about myself. You see, friends, I am on a journey. And I’m not talking about going up to Virginia and loving the mountains, although that is such a glorious journey that I am ready to take any ole time! I’m talking about a healing journey. I’m learning a lot about myself and trying to listen to the Lord’s lessons.
After my son and I ordered coffee and I was rewarded with hearing how I should not allow him to drink coffee, the counter attendant and a customer inquired about our reasons for being in their town–the second oldest in Tennessee. I explained that my son JonBoy and I were on our way to meet the Waltons’ John Boy, Richard Thomas, in Schuyler, Virginia.
With our coffee the attendant served up, “Well, that’s the LEAST of my worries–meeting Richard Thomas!” Then the customer who was apparently a friend of the attendant-waitress began a discussion about how people who can afford to travel aggravate her and she doesn’t understand how anyone can afford to travel or why they would want to. She continued to complain about some couple at her church who had been traveling to see their son and had stayed a month, reminding all within ear shot that SHE wouldn’t travel that much.
The coffee and the BLT were so good to me that the two cantankerous ones really didn’t disturb me.
But did they…after all??
I was still thinking about it a week later. If I could reply now, it would be, “Excuse me, but you have absolutely no idea about me, my son, my life, my finances, or the moccasins that the old Indian proverb says you need to walk in before you judge me. You have no idea that my son here who is drinking his black coffee has walked down some interesting paths already in his young life. You are clueless that I am beginning a healing journey of my own. It is really none of your business but our paid-off cars are over 10 years old. We don’t go on regular family vacations or make extravagant purchases. It is also none of your business but we have six children who have learned that birthdays and Christmases are very minimal in the gift department because we can’t afford to give them many material possessions although it might appear the opposite to some. Our six children think more of family time, playing board games and eating good food than they do having the latest toys. Our children are very thankful for anything they get whether it’s a cup of black coffee or a trip to see John Boy Walton. And this JonBoy sitting here needs this trip. He needs a lot of things that we haven’t identified yet. **I** need this trip!
So, ma’ams, I would just appreciate it if you would just turn your noses the other direction and let me pay for my BLT and get out of your beautiful town.”
There. I TOLD them!……Hmmm….But wait…
I suspect that God allowed me to be in that situation so I could think about this for a full week–or more. I thought about it a lot on our trip as I drove. How many times have I said something hurtful, cruel, sarcastic, inappropriate or without discretion?? Oh Abba Father, I don’t want to know the answer. Just, please forgive me.
I truly am using this as a wake-up call to remember that everybody has a walk, everybody has a path, everybody has a pair of moccasins that they’re walking in and I need to be really careful about what I say and how I say it. That’s it. That’s the Dandridge lunch counter take-away. Sitting at a lunch counter that has stood the test of time God chose to teach me a lesson that is as old as time.
O Lord, please help me not to have diarrhea-of-the-mouth.
“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24