The kids and I were on our way to a Bible study in town, and I was rushing. Impatient. Annoyed.
In the parking lot, Jack was waiting in the stroller while I threw in the kids' bags. Camille and Catherine were told to wait by the stroller until I was ready. Finally, our bags were in the stroller and I was ready to MOVE...NOW. March, little soldiers. I pushed the stroller and it bumped into Camille's leg.
My heart grumbled. My face showed it. And then (alas!), I spoke!
"EXCUSE me, Camille!!!" (read: the tone, oh, the tone!)
Camille responded like a ray of sunshine on my stormy day. Not a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Not a word of retaliation in reply to my rudeness to her. Not a scowl on her face at my double-layered communication - sweet and proper in word, but sour in tone. In her two year old sing-song voice, I heard Camille reply, "Oh, excuse me, Mama!" and off she trotted to her class.
Like a child can do, she took my comment at face-value. "Excuse me, Camille" to her was simply a collection of words forming a friendly reminder from her teacher- her mama. She carried on - cheerfully - corrected.
I felt ashamed and embarrassed. In a flash, I thought: How long would it be before her little mind would grow, not just to understand words, but to discern TONE? How long would it be before my curriculum of teaching her the "good things" would include her replicating my attitude? my sarcasm? in a word, my rudeness?
Too soon, I guessed.
Historically, this kind of thing (failing someone I love) would get me stuck in pity, despair, and depression. Thankfully, God has freed me from bondage to "failure", turning it instead into an opportunity to go to Him, to ask Him for forgiveness and wisdom to operate differently the next time. (I have a feeling there will be a number of these types of posts in the future: I think I'll call them 'gtg' - going to God- posts!)
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightousness." I knew God would forgive me.
Now if Camille would graciously forgive me, too! I hugged her and explained the situation and asked Camille to forgive me. Her arms hugged me and she disappeared into her two-year-old class to find the toys and friends.