My daughter and I sat together reading a book when a situation caught her attention and her countenance darkened. She gave a cynical snicker and kind of snarled as she said that one of the characters reminded her of me and the other character reminded her of a person who had deeply hurt her.
The book described a person who was moved by conviction to correct a wrong that was committed. The character faced two people who, in my opinion, were described as polar opposites. Both were leaders in the character’s company and though the intention was to see only the president, it just so happened the two of them were in conversation and thus the audience of two.
There were three people. The one who my daughter identified with was the person who was moved to the place of correcting a wrong. The character had a knot of tension in their stomach as they waited to speak to the president of the company. Humiliation and determination mixed together with fear as the implications of taking responsibility for actions previously made rolled around in their head.
The second character was stern and had been described thus far as fair and neutral. They were the president of the company. This character was easy to converse with and encouraging. One who made others feel special by asking genuine questions about their lives.
The third was one described as less than cordial, suspicious and irritable when speaking to others. This character had an accusatory demeanor (even before this incident) and because of the conflict, used demeaning sarcasm and unsympathetic words. This person was a vice president of the company. Compliments given by this character were half-hearted to which the receiver felt as if it were an obligation. At the time of the prior mentioned conversation, this character looked at the one who had committed the wrong as if they were week old road kill.
My girl simply said, “I know how this person feels walking into the conference room. It’s like you are the president and the vice president is [the person who hurt her deeply].” She choked back her feelings and continued to read. Throughout reading this book she has had some pretty strong reactions and much of the descriptions listed above she had made on her own. My girl made it clear that she didn’t want to talk about anything; she just wanted to read the book. So I reached out my hand to hold onto hers, she gave me a soft smile, leaned into me and continued reading. Even as she read aloud and turned pages she always came back to holding onto my hand.
There were a million things going on in my heart. I was encouraged by the person she associated me with…even if just for one situation. I was sad to hear how fixed she was in her assessment and association of the other person/character. I was truly loving the fact that she still wanted to sit with me and read a book. Though, most of all…my heart broke for hers. Tears came to my eyes as she continued to read. In my own head and heart, it was so clear that the pain of her own hurts had helped her to dig a deep pit.
God help me to be gentle and loving as I ask questions and press into that tender place that needs You. Give me wisdom and understanding to be able to honor this sacred glimpse you have given to me. God give her the desire to share with me in an honest way…and God if it is your will to have someone other than me, help me to join you in that direction. Just help me to love her the way you made her and in a way that draws her heart to yours. In the most powerful name of Jesus, I pray.