Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Auntie vs. Burger King

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  - Frederick Douglass

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  Proverbs 18:21

            When I was a kid, making friends did not come easily and getting invited anywhere was a real treat.  Of course, my being the fat kid with the thick glasses was a big deterrent for most of my peers. Fortunately, although I remember a lot of the horrid events of my childhood, I don’t remember who most of the perpetrators were.  So, if you are the kid I’m talking about here, don’t worry about it; I don’t remember who you were.  Unfortunately, one of these horrid events involved a major fast food chain.

            I was around 8 or 9 years old and one of my classmates had a birthday party at our local Burger King and I, surprisingly, was on the guest list.  I was so excited about being invited and allowed to go.  I finally felt like I belonged.  The feeling didn’t last long.

            I rode to the party with my one “bosom” friend (yeah, I’m a fan of Anne of Green Gables).  She went in first, and the birthday girl, who was standing with her mother to welcome everyone, was overjoyed at her arrival.  Her countenance completely changed when she saw me.  Her smile disappeared, her face went from angelic cream to purely pissed-off puce, and she stomped her foot at her mom, pointed at me, and said, “I told you I didn’t want her here!” 

            Before I go any further with this, I need to rant for a moment.  Anyone who tells a child “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” needs to be hung up by his feet and used as a piñata!  That statement is a LIE!  Let me tell you from experience, I would much rather have been beaten up more, and endured the hateful words of others less.  Physical wounds heal much faster than emotional ones.  OK, rant over.

            Anyway, the girl’s mom calmly explained to her that she had invited the whole class, but she would have none of it.  They continued to argue and I grew increasingly uncomfortable.  Somehow, I got to stay, but the birthday girl made me wish I hadn’t.  Knowing that I didn’t see well, she sat me as far away from everyone and everything as she could, and her mom let her.  I didn’t get to enjoy watching her blow out her birthday candles or open her presents.  Participation in the fun and games with the other children was, of course, frowned upon.  I sat alone.  I ate alone.  This was the first time in living memory that I ever cried and ate. Y’all, that is one of the most miserable feelings for anyone, overweight or not. 

            This event so traumatized me that I couldn’t eat at Burger King anymore.  As an adult, I was obligated to eat there once (someone else was buying and insisted we eat there, so I gave in).  I literally went in the  bathroom and cried before I could eat anything and then I ate with a knot in my belly the whole time. 

            I know you’re probably thinking, “Why does any of this matter?  You don’t need to be eating fast food anyway!”  They DO have grilled chicken AND that’s not the point.  The point is this:  the Apostle Paul said in First Corinthians chapter six that he would not be mastered by anything except the Holy Spirit.  This memory had mastered me; it had put me in subjection to my fear and pain, and caused me to miss precious fellowship with people.  I’d turned down several invitations to hang out with my friends because they were eating “there.”  Many of my friends from Celebrate Recovery worked at Burger King; I missed fun times of seeing them outside of recovery meetings because of the bad memories.  This mess was on the list of stupid crap I needed to be free from (yes, driving on the interstate is on the list too, but let’s not get crazy). 

            About a month ago, my sister and I were running errands in Anniston and she suggested we eat lunch at Burger King.  She had no idea of my issue, plus, I wanted to deal with this anyway.  As we sat down to eat, all the painful memories flooded my mind and I wanted to run to the car, go home, and curl up in my bed into the fetal position.  Instead, I took a deep breath, asked God for help, started talking and laughing with my sister, and had a wonderful time.  Without knowing it, my sister gave me a chance to make new fun memories associated with Burger King instead of being mastered by the pain of being a broken soul.  Seems such a small thing, but it may be a catalyst to conquering larger issues.

Burger King: 1  Auntie: 1

Are there any small mountains in your life that you need to conquer in order to face the big ones?

2 comments:

  1. I sit here with tears running down my face because I could be you in a different time and place. I still feel terrified to eat in front of people outside of Doug and the kids. I will sometimes nibble out of obligation, but cannot enjoy the whole thing because of what has happened to me. I never thought of it as something that I needed to give over or that was mastering me. Thank you for being so open and honest. Truly, you help me see so many things. You have a real gift, my friend. Thank you for letting God use you!

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    1. Thank you, my friend, for inspiring me and encouraging me to continue blogging. You are such a blessing.

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