Thursday, August 20, 2009

Words of Shame

It's been months since I last posted, but now things are settling down with the release of Shame Lifter (only more radio interview to go) and I thought I'd get caught up on this blog.

Shame. It's such an interesting emotion. It caught me by surprise a couple weeks ago.

I had to go to a medical lab for a routine test. And like most medical offices, there is a sign that reads, "Please register with the receptionist." I stood by the counter and waited for the receptionist to finish whatever she was doing. Without greeting or even glancing up at me she asked, "Name?" I told her. Again, without looking at me she said, "Insurance card." I handed her my card and was amazed how she could, without looking, take it right out of my hand while she looked at her paperwork.

She continued with her work, swearing quietly to herself while I stood there. Finally, she said, "Go take a seat." As I turned and started for a nearby chair in the lobby, she yelled out, "Where are you going? What do you think I just asked you to do?" Now, for the first time she was looking at me and demanding an answer. At first I couldn't believe she was talking to me, but her eyes (and all the other eyes in the lobby) were now staring at me and wondering what I was going to say. I swallowed and said, "You told me to go sit down." Her eyes glowered at me. "Not in the lobby!" She pointed to another chair and commanded, " I want you to sit right over here!" She began mumbling to herself as I sank into the "right" chair. I could feel all those eyes looking at the back of my head. Gratefully, my name was soon called by a nurse and I was freed from my chair.

After the appointment, I had to once again file past the receptionist's desk. Not knowing how I would be received and if I should sit in a certain chair I asked, "Is there anything else you need from me?" "No, I'm done with you!" No "good-bye" no smile, no nothing.

It really was a little thing - but do you know what I felt like for a couple of minutes as that receptionist dialogued with me? I felt like a bad little kid who hadn't followed directions. (But only for a couple of minutes! :) I quickly realized that I didn't have anything to be ashamed of. She was the one out of bounds.

But I do wonder...what was going on in her life? Was she having a most dreadful day in the office? How could I have encouraged her?

Our words - they have such power - both with what we say and how we say it. Truly words have the power of life or death. Today I have a choice, I can either be a shame giver or a shame lifter.