sitting in the hot tub at the local rec center, the man next to me was chatting. as a woman climbed into the hot tub with us, he asked if she was okay and offered to help her. she proceeded in and then paused in front of him. with kind eyes and a soft yet firm tone, she asked if she could share something with him. he agreed.
she went on to share that as a woman with a disability, she had learned how to maneuver her body. comments like his were more about his unease with her than her. she let him know that his comments hurt.
he offered a bit of justification. she simply listened and then reiterated “that is more about you than me.”
the grace offered with her truth-telling was remarkable.
a bit later, there was an opportunity for me to thank her. i let her know i made it a practice to look for God and in that moment, that’s what i experienced. our eyes met. we paused for a moment in that knowing.
i asked her if i might take her photograph. she said yes.
i asked her name.
becky. i repeated it, taking it in.
i offered mine. she repeated it, taking it in.
and then, she asked if she might share a story about her grandmother. tears came.
she began, “as a little girl, my grandmother told me that God only makes perfect beings. each person has a wound, either inside or out. i was born with a disability. my wound is on the outside. God allowed that because it reveals to me the wounds that people carry inside.”
“my wound is on the outside so that the wounds people carry inside can be seen.”
for a moment, silence that comes in after such truth is spoken.
then, “wasn’t that wise of her?”
i nodded with my whole body.
“what was your grandmother’s name?” i asked.
“and she only completed sixth grade. isn’t that something? and she knew the Bible from front to back. the whole Bible.”
“yes.” i said. and then, “thank you. to you and to your grandmama, Bertha.”