I still shudder when I think about the door slamming and my daughter yelling, “I HATE YOUR FACE!” She wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to her older sister. And it pains me, deeply.
It pains me that she didn’t think twice before saying it, or that we could tell anyway. It pains me that it was filled with such venom and hatred that I wondered where my little angel flew off to and when this minion from the nether regions appeared. It pains me that it was her first response to a very simple solution.
They were playing Barbies. It’s their favorite thing to do together, and they can enjoy it for hours. But yesterday it ended in tragedy. Apparently Ken was needed as the husband for Vet Barbie and Fashion Barbie was sitting too close. My older daughter in an attempt to fix the situation grabbed another Ken (Prince Antonio) and put him in the mix. No stinkin’ way! Vet Barbie was blonde, and she had to be married to the blonde Ken! No other situation would do, no matter what the rationalization, and it all ended with a ripped off Ken head, a slammed door, and those very painful words.
As a parent, I rushed in to try and remedy the situation. Assuage the tears and pain of one and correct the wrath of the other. In time, they came back together. A hug and a kiss and a promise brought the sisters back into the love that they truly felt when their emotions weren’t controlling them. But, I don’t think they have forgotten. I think the words, “I hate your face!” have staying power. It hurts me.
I started thinking about my own outbursts. Maybe I hadn’t said, “I hate your face!” but I’d said, “I’m disappointed in you.” And, “You’re acting stupid!” And, “I hope you fail!” Yep. Those were my words to my sisters. And perhaps the worst, the “I hate your face!” moment was when I looked in the scared eyes of my young, pregnant sister and yelled, “I hope your baby’s deformed!” Ugh. Still hurts to hear my past. Luckily, she forgave me and my precious neice was perfectly healthy…but the words were said.
I wish I could take back many things. I wish that I would have appreciated my sisters for what they are: incredible creations of God, deeply loved and worthy and precious. The pain I felt when I heard my daughter’s words must mirror the pain God feels when we murder each other with our words.
“I hate your face!” and God says, “I made that face.” “Your acting stupid!” and God says, “Like you never do?” “I hope you fail!” and God says, “I desire good things for you!” And to that horrible curse, uttered from a selfish heart and an injured ego, He says, “Before you were put together in your mother’s womb, I chose you.”
You see. That’s why we are told to “Be slow to anger and slow to SPEAK.” Words injure deeply. He knows this. Words carelessly spoken, have the power to break the spirit and sever the heart. I didn’t have to hear from my older daughter’s mouth how painful those words were to her; I could see it in the tears in her eyes, and feel it in quiver of her puckered lips. “I hate your face!” Those are words reserved for one and one alone – satan. Everyone else is worthy of far better, so much more…words of love and encouragement and inspiration…even the worst of criminals and the ugliest of sins. God’s love is greater than any of that.
Can you imagine the difference if my little girl would have dropped the insignificant Barbie, smiled at her older sister, squeezed her cheeks (because she does everything with such gusto!), kissed her and said, “I LOVE YOUR FACE!” Yeah, that would have been a much prettier moment for all of us.
One thought on “In your face”
Wonderfully written! Your writing style reminds me of the style of one of my all time favorite writers. Stephen King. That is right…I just said Leslie Lamb reminds me of Stephen King. Now, if you would be so kind as to continue considering my statements at least half sane, I would like to explain. Stephen King has remained a favorite of mine because his books saw me through many, many years and situations where I was alone and in need of a friend. Characters such as Stu Redman, Larry Underwood, and Glen Bateman (The Stand) became more than simply characters in a story. In King’s books cars come to life (Christine), little girls named Charlie can start fires with their minds (Firestarter), and cats named Winston “Church” Churchill can come back to life after being buried (Pet Semetary). But King can also do something significantly better than most other writers….King can take a seemingly irrelevant or perfectly ordinary person, place, or thing, and turn it into something great, or evil, or life changing. Leslie Lamb has been gifted in the same way but uses said gift in a very different way. While King uses his abilities to draw readers in to be entertained by a good story, Leslie uses hers to draw readers to action. Actions such as forgiving oneself or others, visiting the sick, feeding those that need physical and/or spiritual food, seeking and serving an Almighty God, and the list goes on and on. Leslie takes situations, sins, mistakes, and the “ordinary” happenings in life, and turns them into lessons from the trenches of Spiritual Warfare. She forces us to look within ourselves with our Batman shaped 3-D glasses off. Her writings make us REALLY face that one inside each of us that STILL believes WE have control over our own lives and destinies. I think that if two authors like Stephen King and Leslie Lamb can have something in common, that despite what the devil whispers to us, ANYTHING is possible! Stop settling, start serving, and really live!