My husband and I went into town today. For efficiency we stopped by the grocery store--big mistake. It was crawling with people. Because of my injured knee, I sat down at the front of the store while my husband checked out at the register. I noticed the young mother behind him. She was with an older, handicapped woman and several small children. All were clothed in attire that had long ago seen its prime. It was obvious that they were of low economic status.
My husband completed our purchases and we walked outside. He asked me to wait on the sidewalk and let him bring the car to me so I wouldn't have to walk so far. As he went to get the car, the same young mother came out of the store with her basket of groceries and her children. The oldest was about 10 years old, the youngest about 10 months old. She walked to an old station-wagon-type jalopy and opened the rear door to load the groceries in the car. The car was parked in the first parking space closest to the main driving lane that runs in front of the store.
Every mother knows that this young mother must now load her groceries and children in the car--not an easy task. I watched as she positioned the grocery basket close to the car. Then I heard her yell, "I'm going to beat your a_ _. Hold your sister." I then saw the 10 year old reach out and take the baby in his arms. She was heavy and he set her down on the pavement. We are in Texas. It is hot here. This baby was put down barefoot on hot pavement. The mother did not see this because she was leaning into the back of the car. When she raised up, I could see that she had leaned in to light her cigarette. Then she placed the groceries in the car and proceeded to put the children in through the passenger doors. The older woman came out of the store and said something that I did not hear. I heard the young mother say, "Why don't you mind your own damn business?"
Think about the sequence of events here.
- She yelled an obscene threat to one child.
- Handed her baby to that child--in a high traffic lane.
- Lit her cigarette.
- Loaded the groceries in the car.
- Placed the children in the car.
- Yelled an obscenity to an older woman--presumably her mother.
- Got in the car on the passenger side.
What were her priorities? Not her children's safety. Not respect for an elder. She first lit a cigarette. She took time to take care of her own needs (or rather vice) before seeing to the safety of her children. As I watched I couldn't help but pray for her. I said, "Lord, please touch this mother's heart."
People who put themselves first do so because they are unable to love others. They need the love of God to show them how.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” to love themselves and others. John 13:34-35.