As the weather turns colder, we seem to get more calls in our line of business. Providing individualized care to each family we serve is our top priority. In doing so, it requires us to be available during evening hours, overnight, as well as on weekends.
This particular weekend, I worked Saturday and Sunday to help assist with services and with the families. Sunday, we were so busy that we didn’t get lunch until 3:15 p.m.
As we sat in the front office eating lunch, a lady appeared in my doorway. Inside, I cringed, as our previous encounter was less than desirable. This lady had gotten upset due to a misunderstanding, and she really showed out in my office a few months back. I tried to handle this adversity with grace, but the kinder and more apologetic I was, over an error that wasn’t even mine, the harsher and more verbally abusive she became! As you can imagine, after 15 minutes of taking this, I finally told her that I did not deserve to be beat over this.
Our confrontation from months ago remained fresh in my mind, but I smiled and said, “Hey there, come on in.” She smiled back at me as she walked closer to my desk. She paused for a moment before she began.
“I’m so glad you’re here. I wanted to come apologize to you face to face for my behavior a few months ago. I’m sure you remember. I don’t know what came over me, I’m normally not like that, and I apologize. There was no excuse for my behavior, and I am very sorry.”
I did not even hesitate when I said, “That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much.”
My boss, needing to be present for the next service and also feeling more than a little uncomfortable at that point, excused himself at that time.
I rose from my chair as I added, “I smell like food, but I’m going to hug you!”
As I placed my arms around her shoulders, I could feel her become emotional in my embrace. As I pulled away and smiled at her, tears filled her eyes as she said again, “I am truly sorry.”
We talked for a few minutes more before she turned to leave, pausing once more to say again how sorry she was. I tried to reassure her that everything was okay, and all was forgiven.
After she left, my boss made his way back to the office. A wide smile formed across his red, wind chapped face, as he said, “Shirley … a few months ago when she was in here, you extended grace even when she was not seemingly deserving of it. What you did was just like in the bible. When you face adversity and yet extend grace, it is like heaping hot coals onto their heads. That is what you did, and it bothered her all this time!”
Then he turned on his heels and headed back to the service.