People stare at me. At least I think they still do, however, I have stopped looking for the stares or listening for the whispers. It used to consume me. Every time I walked out into the public, I looked for the stares and listened for the whispers, and spent most of my time reacting negatively to those who, in my opinion, committed the offense.
Then one day, I realized that I can’t make people stop staring at me. I can’t make them stop whispering about me. But I can change how I react to them.
Now if I notice someone staring at me, I smile at them. While they are starring at me, I have their undivided attention and I want to use the opportunity to reflect my Lord, and give them a little glimpse of Him. Then, I turn away and do not allow their behavior to make me feel uncomfortable. I usually react the same way if I hear them talking about me. I make eye contact with them, smile, and then move on. I will not allow the actions of others to cause me to act badly.
Sometimes, however, we misinterpret the gestures. I had a little girl one day starring at me. I thought she was starring at my scars, until I heard her ask her mom if she could get red hair and curls, too. One day, I had a woman gasp when she saw my hands, and then she dropped my change out the drive thru window. It made me furious and I shot daggers out of my eyes. The whole situation made me so uncomfortable, I decided that if it happened again I would handle it differently. I got my opportunity, because the same thing happened again. The girl saw my hand and dropped my change. I think it just startled her and she didn’t mean to do it because she looked stricken that she had reacted that way. Instead of shooting daggers out of my eyes, I smiled and apologized for dropping my change. She looked relieved. The next time I saw her, she told me that I was her hero.
God made us all in His image. No one has the right to treat anyone else badly. The way we treat other people is how we treat God. It is not my place to punish them. God just wants me to love them, and understand that not every reaction is meant to hurt me. Regardless of how other people treat me, I will treat them how I want to be treated— not how they have treated me.
Love and blessings,