I had another experience when grocery shopping the other night. This one less maddening, if only because it was so heartbreaking.
I was maneuvering my cart – just Baby and me – down the canned fruit/juice/condiment/pickle aisle in search of olives. It was a fairly full aisle, with at least two people on their cell phones while shopping.
One of these was a mom with a dozing baby in an infant carseat. He was bigger than my 3 1/2 mo-old, but presumably less than a year. She paused her conversation to instruct a boy, about 4 maybe, on which can of fruit to get (which he naturally dropped, and scuffled around on his knees with his coat dragging to retrieve). As I passed by, she leaned to see under the hood of Baby’s carseat and from behind me I heard this: “Awwwww…” And then, “why couldn’t one of you have been a girl?” My heart just sank within me. I could not believe I’d just heard – quite loudly and in public – a mother speak to her boy like that. I can only guess what might be said at home, behind walls of privacy. I gently shook my head as I continued on. I wanted to go back, pluck the woman’s phone from her, look into her eyes and point out what amazing treasures she’s been given to steward. That these are men, in her keeping, and will likely one day be someone’s husband or father. Or to ask her by what means she expects to demand a particular gender in her family. Or to express my gratitude that, on behalf of all girls, she doesn’t have any to raise with that attitude. Okay, so those last comments only came to me much later.
I’m trying to find the lesson in this for myself. My own sins are never so glarlingly obvious to me as this (well, some are, actually). How often am I ungrateful, even resentful, that I don’t have what I wanted or expected or worked for? When I anxiously await some gift, thinking that certainly I will have it as I expect, because Susie Christian has that, as does Lucy Righteous and – oh! – even Mary Notsoperfect. I mean, certainly I’ve earned it if she has been blessed with it.
Too often! I have to remind myself that I am not *entitled* to the blessings of others. Whether it’s the ‘big’ things like someone’s house or income or marriage or family, or the ‘little’ things like help with the dishes or time to meet for coffee, these are not owed me. It is not necessarily for my happiness that God gives (or allows) certain things. Perhaps He prefers refinement. And perhaps, instead of wanting, I should too.