He is friendly, introducing himself to me, and I to him. He asks for diapers in multiple sizes. I’m not sure how many kids he has, but I tend not to ask at Manna House. If we have it, we give it away, no questions asked.
But we only give one sack per person. And he wants more.
Sometimes you sense a scam coming on. His tone is changing. He presses in. I press back. We have to share with everyone, and if I give you extras, we won’t have enough for others, I tell him.
With a tone of my own.
He doesn’t let up. He’s begging for what he needs.
I sigh. I give in. I tell him okay, this time. But keep it quiet.
Still with my tone.
I walk to the back to get another supply for him, long enough for God to work on me.
Sometimes the Spirit breathes quickly.
I reach for another sack of diapers, smelling my own stench of stinginess.
Yes, in theory, we give one helping per person, but the goal is to give love to others as God gives to us.
And God loves to overflowing.
When I beg God for something I think I need, God doesn’t answer me with a tone. Maybe he gives what I ask, maybe not, but either way, he answers with love.
I hand off the diapers to the gentleman. He looks me in the eye, gives me a genuine thank you. He says he appreciates it. Really.
I believe him. Because of his tone. I say I really do want to help, however I can.
I hope my tone shows I mean it.
Lord, have mercy.
Was I scammed out of a few extra diapers? Who cares?
What’s important is that I learn:
It’s not just what we say, but how we say it.
It’s not only our words that count, it’s also our tone.
It’s not just our love we’re representing, it’s God’s love.
May we set a tone of love.
* * *
Step 8 of my One Word 2014: Compassion is, “How we speak to one another.”
When have you used a bad tone with others? How have you learned to drop it? I’d love to hear.
sharing at Trusting Tuesdays
- My August
- God save me from god