A trip to the grocery store with a six year old rarely concludes without incident. Kathy had experienced it all – stomping feet past the candy aisle, a “Can we go now?” whine to set a clock by, the cry of “I need to go” three times in half hours time, and an accidently demolished canned goods display. Yet nothing prepared Kathy for Adrian’s crowning moment. Or maybe it was hers.
Their trek down aisle three led to a bump into with Jackie, an unmarried friend from church. Kathy gulped. If only she’d started at the bottom of her grocery list.
“Hi, Jackie, how are you?” Kathy wondered if the person receiving a sugary greeting was ever fooled by it. They would be the only one.
“I’m doing well, thanks. How about yourself?” Jackie hauled her loaded cart to a stop, and checked the status of her newborn’s nap in the carrier.
“She’s such a doll,” Kathy cooed with a glance at the sleeping angel.
“I wanna see!” Adrian stood on tip toe next to the cart.
Kathy lifted Adrian to the best vantage point then lowered her back down. Adrian wasted no time with her question, directed at Jackie. “Is that your baby?”
The two women laughed until the next words tumbled out of Adrian’s mouth. “’Mommy told Daddy she wasn’t sure whose baby it was.”
If Kathy ever doubted the term ‘dead silence’, she didn’t now. It filled the gap between the two women like liquid. Full. No way to breathe. Kathy stood with bright red spreading from her cheeks down to her neck, with not one polite thing to say. How much easier it had been to restack cans.
Kathy forced her mind to revisit the conversation she had with her husband the evening before. She’d just got off the phone with a close friend from church who had shared a fairly juicy bit about Jackie. She’d thought her low tone and the Veggies Tales movie was ample safety precautions against young ears.
God heard it. Think before you speak, Kathy. Think. How great a forest a little fire kindles…
Kathy tried to drain the silence, using a classic statement. “I don’t know what to say.”
Jackie laughed the only way she could - awkwardly. “It’s okay. I gotta go. Bye.”
Kathy didn't go to church for three straight Sundays. She used her time in study of the scriptures, and in earnest prayer.
Seated at the kitchen table, she spent the third Sunday writing Jackie a letter of apology for speaking about something she knew little of. As she signed the letter, Adrian galloped in.
Adrian leaned on Kathy’s knee, holding up a piece of paper. “Look what we learned in Sunday School, Mommy.”
Kathy examined the drawing with admiration. “Good, Adrian. What was the lesson on?”
“Mousetraps. They help us remember that our tongues can say bad things and trap us and hurt people.”
Kathy smiled. Thank You, Lord. I think Adrian and I need another trip to the grocery store to buy Mommy a mousetrap – and have a talk about repeating things we hear.
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