At least once a month, I frequent a local business here in my city.
It’s a bit of a vain excursion, of sorts, but it’s a way for me to just get away from work and other stresses for a while. I like going there. The owner and employees treat me well. We get along and chat often despite English not being their first language.
I’ve learned to pick up on nuances when they converse with each other in their native tongue. Generally, I can sense when something serious is going on and when it’s not.
One day last week, I missed it…initially.
One of the employees there comes across as a cool, confident sort. Very hip. Younger than she looks. Great at what she does when focused. We banter and teach each other often.
On this particular day, she was quiet. I made a joking comment about her needing a hug from me. That tells you a bit about our relationship. Fun and lighthearted.
Another customer piped up saying, “She probably does need one today”.
It was then that I heard the irate customer story from earlier in the day. You know the one where the customer was unhappy and let everyone know about it. Only this one isn’t the typical unhappy customer.
See, this was a customer who wanted everything at the bargain-basement rate even though they didn’t come in with a bargain-basement problem. This customer had a Mt. Rainier type of problem.
I live in Washington state, so yeah, Mt. Rainier not Mt. Everest.
The customer’s problem required more work, more labor from the employee. It was outside of the norm. The business’ fees are based on the norm.
Standard business operating procedures.
According to the owner, the customer yelled and berated everyone in the business. In front of other customers, taking pictures and (my words here) having a meltdown.
Being upset is one thing. You go into a business expecting one thing and you are told another. Hearing you’re going to be charged more can be upsetting. I get that from a customer perspective.
Most of us can relate to this type of scenario.
One thing to note here is that the charge was going to be $5-$10 more given the conditions the customer presented to the business. The business did not know until after they began serving the customer what the conditions were. Customer gave no indication of the conditions ahead of time.
A line was crossed. Not satisfied with simply berating the owner and employees, the customer made it personal by attacking them on their race/ethnicity.
Don’t let her words dictate your identity.
When my employee-friend got up, I called her over to me. I put my arm around her and spoke what I hoped were affirming words to her.
As I spoke, she began to cry.
Never in a million years would I have ever thought I’d see her cry.
You are worth it. You are lovable. You are valuable. You aren’t the one with the issues, she is. Her words have no say over who you are.
The words kept flowing and now, I’m not even sure of what all I said. Looking back, I wasn’t even planning to go to this business on that day, but for some reason I did.
Now I know why.
Even as I type this out, I know some are thinking “Welcome to Trump’s America”. Sorry to break it to you, folks, but this is America. It’s part of America’s DNA.
But, that’s a discussion for another day.
The reason I went to the business that day was so I could speak life-giving words to my employee-friend. They weren’t my words. They were words that God wanted her to know.
It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t believe in God or share the same faith as me. I don’t operate that way. God doesn’t want me operating that way.
No, in that moment, she needed something or someone to speak life and encouragement back into her. Her soul needed to be fed love after the crushing words of the customer.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Words do hurt. They can pierce our soul and crush our identity. Some have been sent into downward spirals because of words spoken to/over them in their lives.
I identify with that. It’s happened to me and I’m sure I have done that to someone else. None of us are perfect. No, not even Christians like me. Not a single person on this earth is without some flaw or another. It’s just not possible.
But, our words. Our words, especially those spoken in anger like this customer can do emotional and mental damage if we’re not careful.
Everyone has worth. Everyone has value. Everyone’s life has purpose and meaning. They may not see it. We may not see it. But, there is a reason for each person’s life upon this earth. Even those we disagree with, are different from or whom have offended us.
They have worth.
You reading this blog post right now.
You have worth. You have value. You are loved and are lovable. Your presence is desired upon this earth. There is meaning to your life. You may not know what it is in this very moment, but there is a meaning and purpose to your life.
Don’t let other people’s words determine your worth or value. Sure, life has dealt you blow after blow. People have hated you and questioned your very existence. They deemed you lesser than.
Don’t let their words OWN YOU!
God loves you and He created you for a purpose. People may not think so, but God does. Life is worth living and you are too.
Knees Down, Prayers Up,
If you need prayer for something you’re going through along this topic, let me know. I’ll pray for you.