I can’t help but laugh when I think about Bill Engvall’s stories saying, “Here’s your sign.” If you’ve never seen any of them, just google it, it’ll make you laugh. But anyway . . .
Many years ago, when Mama was in the throes of Alzheimers, I was in our local grocery store and ran into a friend as I was leaving. Before she could get the words out of her mouth, “How’s your Mom?” I burst into tears right there at the end of the check out aisles. It caught her off guard as much as it did me. After blurting out something about Mama’s situation, I went to the car and I cried. I didn’t fully realize until that moment how close to the surface my emotions were bubbling and looking back, I realized they stayed there for many years.
Today of all days, almost all of us have emotions bubbling just below the surface, right?
Do you feel like an emotional volcano?
Looking back to that day, I wonder if I had had a sign around my neck that said, “Beware, I’m exhausted” or “My Mama is dying, I need a hug” what strangers would have thought or if they would have reached out or run the other way. These days, a lot of us are having to pull out our signs with the worn out corners, the one that says “I’m okay. . . but not really.” But wouldn’t it be great if we had the power to really read everyone’s signs? I picture the one of , , ,
~the lady checking out at Walmart, the one fussing at her son for wanting a candy bar, hers saying, “I don’t know how I’m going to get groceries this week.”
~that man at the gas station who looks so sad, his might say, “My kids never call me anymore, I just wish someone would come by.”
~the teen who won’t leave his room whose sign reads, “The kids at school are so cruel. I wish Mom knew.”
~the grouchy mailman (not that I know one – insert eye roll) whose sign reads, “My son is an addict, I am at a loss what to do.”
~the lady in the meat department who never smiles, maybe “I only have 8 more treatments to go.”
~the young girl with black eyes, 27 piercings, and just as many tattoos, “My Dad was an alcoholic, my Mom was an addict, but who the hell cares, certainly not you.”
Maybe we don’t have the ability to see everyone’s signs but we do have the ability to realize everyone is wearing one including each of us. We put on a different one every day, sometimes every hour. I have a drawer full and my smiley one is my favorite. I may make some new ones, hand a few out. But in the meantime, I pray we can stop and look closer at the signs of those around us, not just strangers, but even those sitting next to us at the dinner table, or working in the office beside us. What do theirs say? When they’re grouchy or rude or tearful, what are their signs saying.
Prayers for all of us to go through today, any day, just looking at those around us at work, home, out and about, and trying to read their signs. Prayers for patience and extra kindness and clear vision and maybe a little courage to actually look behind them to see what’s really going on. And . . .
Prayers that today you’re wearing your favorite sign.
Reading like a palm reader,