I am reminded this week that I live in a broken world.
It is not just one story…it is many…all at the same time.
Young girls selling their bodies just blocks away from my house.
People with very sick children.
People I never thought would ever do THAT but they did.
Three people who have left someone they once said they loved.
Things too awful to really speak about.
In the middle of wrestling with all these things, I witnessed another broken relationship in front of my very eyes.
I exited the elevator at Kaiser yesterday following a young handicapped girl. She looked about seven. She was in a motorized wheelchair and followed an older woman who was carrying a newborn towards the receptionist station. When the older woman veered a little to the left, the young girl followed in her chair. The older woman stopped, then snapped, “How many times do I have to tell you to watch where you’re going and not cut people off? Apologize to the lady behind you.”
I am the lady behind her. (Since when am I a lady?! Ugh. I’m 30. Forgot!)
“Sorry,” she says softly. I try to tell her she didn’t cut me off, because she didn’t. Before I can do so, the older woman squawks again, “Look her in the eye when you apologize Shelby!”
Shelby is so handicapped that she appears to have a hard time even craning her neck my direction.
I am quiet. Stunned. I moved to the side of the hallway to give them their space.
“Go ahead of us, please,” says the woman. “Shelby cut you off, so you should go ahead of us.”
I assured both of them I was fine, there was not a need to apologize but I found myself stammering and flustered.
I felt like I should have blasted the mom; but she was a stranger. I felt like I should have been more comforting to Shelby; but she wasn’t my child. I felt a thousand thoughts in a brief few seconds, until I pulled out Anna’s Kaiser card and said, “We’re here for shots.”
And then I walked away, and prayed, and prayed and prayed that the shame Shelby probably feels daily would not damage her the way it probably will.
We live in a broken world.
What would you do if you witnessed something that society maybe wouldn’t classify as “verbal abuse” but you believe is damaging? Would you say something?