|Did You ‘spel Gas?
(or.. Perception is Not Always Reality)
It happened at the grocery store. It happened when I had all five of my young children in tow.
I don’t know why, but the store, well – any store, seemed to be an attraction for awkward or embarrassing incidents involving kids!
The Tri-Valley in sunny California was experiencing an unusually hot summer! This muggy afternoon was no exception. Already uncomfortable, I hated to drag the whole brood out, but it was necessary!
Just a quick trip? Sure, I wanted it to be that way, but that was probably asking a little much. As soon as we arrived, somebody needed to go to the bathroom, while the older kids clamored to the drinking fountain.
Me? I took a deep breath. I wanted to get in and get out, but I also didn’t want any accidents, so off to the restroom, it was!
As I waited, my four-year old fidgeted in the stall. Little grunts and noises echoed.
“Everything aaaal….right…..? C’mon Jo-Jo, let’s get going – gotta shop,” I encouraged.
“Uh! I needa fart,” squeaked a teensy little voice. “My tummy hurts.”
Her sisters laughed, egging her on.
Then she yelled out loud, “ My tummy hurts – – -.and I neeee-eeed tooooo faaarrrrt!”
Oh man! There was that word again – coming from my young daughter’s mouth. Obviously, the recent instruction at home hadn’t settled in yet. I closed my eyes for a minute and continued,
“Remember what I told you about using THAT word? It doesn’t sound nice.”
“Uhhhh-ungh- huh!” she grunted. “ I – have- to – say – ‘spel- – gas, right?” she inhaled.
“Sure…” was my truncated reply, as people filed into the restroom.
Suddenly there was singing! Oh no, she started singing at the top of her lungs!
“Wipe, flush and wash! Wipe, flush an’ wash. Whenever you go to the bathroom, remember never to leave the room, ‘til you wipe, flush an’ wash!” (To the tune of ‘Three Blind Mice’)
“Okay I did the first one,” she crooned as the toilet flushed and she burst out of the stall, underwear still around her legs.
The lady next to me exploded with laughter.
“Your kids have a bathroom song? That’s pretty good!”
I should be used to this by now. Kids! I needed her to move it, but little daughter was busily singing again as she washed her hands.
“Jo,” I whispered, trying to direct her attention to her ankles.
She looked down and reached to pull up her underwear. Stopping suddenly in the middle of the action, she wailed – – -” I forgetted to wipe.”
Dear Lord….now she was in tears! Baby still in my arms, I bent to console her and move her out of the way, but she wasn’t having it. This was my child who embarrassed easily, and she thought everyone was staring at her!
Finally! Pants up, tears dried, we managed to get out of there.
Fresher air at last! I dashed for the milk, grabbed some TP, and made a beeline for the checkout – – – just in time to stand in a long line.
The store air conditioning had stopped and it was warming up fast. My restless children jiggled about. I can’t say what happened to the PA system or the music, but the store got quiet all at once.
People began looking around. Hushed small-talk floated into the air. The checkers were still ringing up grocery orders, so the lines crept forward.
A loud, squeezed “bw-raaah-nk” of a sound broke the silence in my line. A large man shifted and smirked, but said nothing.
“P U!” A little voice laughed.
“Mom………………….did you farted?” my daughter questioned, loudly.
I looked down at her, “What?” My eyebrows were scrunched in disapproval, not thinking she’d repeat her question. Repeat she did!
“Shhhhh…no, I did not…and what did I tell you about using THAT word?”
“Okay” she whispered. “ So…did you ‘spel gas?” she insisted, more than questioning.
“Hush!” I tried to shush her with my short, agitated, whisper- tone.
Now she was frustrated because she truly believed I had done it.
Her little face twisted, pouty lips pushing forward.
“You DID too! It was YOU! You did too faaarrrted! You not supposed to tell lies!” she
I could not believe it; my persistent child was almost in tears over this. I laughed a little at her and continued to let her know it wasn’t me. She was resolute and the more she insisted, the louder she got.
This was no longer funny!
The quiet store ruptured with chuckles and snickers. Since there was nothing else to distract them, my child and I seemed to be the focus of attention. My face was hot.
And – – ? I could NOT get my daughter to drop it! All the while, the man responsible for the offensive bodily noise was har-haring in his overalls!
Ah! Just get me out of here! I was SO embarrassed. Just let me escape! I needed air!
Once in the car, I relaxed a bit. My daughter thought I was being unfair. She was convinced that I was the guilty one! A few strong words from me, and except for my daughter’s sniffling, the other kids were extremely quiet all…the…way…home.
In retrospect, I’m sure it wasn’t really THAT big of a deal. Embarrassing? Certainly, for those moments. But, my daughter’s insistence on her perceptionof the situation was the real problem.
She needed to listen to what I was saying, but because she was convinced with wrong information, her behavior left her – and ME – upset.
It has made me think more than once.
I’ve pondered the times when I was SURE that GOD was trying to tell me about something, but I was so insistent in my own understanding that I totally missed His direction.
How many times did I not understand why I had the outcomes I did? I knew better than to accuse God of being unfair, but still I wondered …
Who am I to insist that my puny mind totally “gets it?” Who I am I to have a hissy fit when it was ME who lacked proper perception and instruction in Righteousness. He alone is Lord God over the whole universe!
Our perception of His Word comes from a basis of our constant relationship with Him. Then, when He speaks, we’ll recognize His instruction and be able to receive.
The supernatural outcome is that we will be led by Peace. Obedience will be automatic because we trust whatever He tells us.
My daughter and I can finish each other’s sentence now. She grew well-rounded and strong in faith. She has dealt with her own perceptions more than once and is quick to compare them to God’s Word.
Sometimes, I think she learned more quickly than I did!