Thursday, February 5, 2009

Forgive and Forget

I am furious. But a really sad form of furious. I just got into a verbal altercation at the post office with one of their employees. It was hurtful, stunning and stabbed me in my core more than anything that has happened to me in the recent past. And while I am in no way grateful for this experience, I am grateful for this ability to reflect, and...

I am grateful that God gives us the gift of forgiveness - for ourselves, and today - for others.

We went into the small branch post office in our neighborhood to mail two packages - one that I had ready to go and one I had to buy a padded envelope for and write the address on. We were the only ones in the post office. While I was addressing the one envelope, Dylan and Noah climbed up onto the bench behind me. There were some interesting pictures hanging there - just out of sitting reach - and they wanted to get a closer look. So, they got up on their knees and looked. I suddenly hear an abrupt: "Ehhhh! You cannot stand on there. You WILL fall." It was rude, but they listened, and I just decided to let it slide.

So, I turn around to go back to my addressing. I needed 20 seconds, max. I glance back and Noah is starting to stand - so I tell him "Noah, bum or knees, we can't stand on there." Post office woman: "Mam, they cannot stand on there! Mam! Mam!" (I'm talking to him at the same time - and he is listening - but it's hard with her yelling at me.) Another postal employee comes in the door and is watching what is happening. She heads toward the back as this continues. The first continues to yell as I take a moment to encourage him to sit (it took all of 7 seconds probably?) - and so I stop what I'm doing and say to her - "Look - I'm talking to him right now - can you give me a chance?"

The second employee - she now says to the first (very loudly, although not intended for me) - "Yeah, she's gonna let them do that and then fall and sue the post office."


So I say - "You know what - thanks, but I got it under control - and no, I won't be suing the post office."

So she says - again to the other employee - NOT to me: "I hate how these white people raise their kids...." and says a few other things which I'm probably grateful that I couldn't hear.

I'm stunned. And pissed. And hurt. Why is she bringing race into this? This woman wasn't even in the conversation to begin with and it had nothing to do with RACE!!

So I say loudly (she had gone to the back in the meantime) - "What did you say, mam?"

She comes out - "I wasn't talkin to you."

Me: "Fine, but you were talking about me, so why don't you say it to my face" (yes, I'm in 7th grade).

Her: "Look - I'm 45 years old - I don't have to tell you anything."

Ok, now we have race AND age in the mix - lovely.

Me (with outward confidence): "You know, I'm just trying to do the best I can here. That's fine if you don't like it - but I'm proud of the way I parent."

And I heard nothing but ridicule and laughter.

So then I had to pay for my packages, try not to cry, yell, go crazy and walk out like nothing was wrong so my kids wouldn't ask me to explain what just happened - see, somehow they managed to miss the whole exchange. And so, I guess I'm grateful for that.

Post office lady #2 - I forgive you for hurting my feelings.


  1. Wow! Are you serious?? I think I got angry just reading this! Well, yes, thank God He can give us a spirit of forgiveness b/c that would be a hard one for me...

  2. Oooh Hilary, this one made me mad. It's not even so much the race, the age, or whatever. It's just the general RUDENESS of the whole thing. Grrrr. I think it's pretty risky (and irrelevant) to bring race into this situation to begin with, but the thing that's burning me up about this is just the whole "7th grade" nature of the situation (and not on your part.) I was once reprimanded by a nasty employee of the currency exchange for placing Sean on the counter when I was paying for my plates sticker (he was really small.) Sheesh. And I agree with you, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and shake it off. It's not always easy, but it's probably for the best! At least the kids were unaware.