My sweet hubby and I went away for a few days for our anniversary. We thought about some place tropical. We thought about a super nice hotel downtown. But in the end, my persistence that it be a camping trip to Stone Mountain for just the two of us won out. My mother graciously agreed to keep the kids for five whole days. We loaded up our little camper and headed to the Mountain.
I have to say, I am really more of an indoor girl, but I LOVE to camp. (In a camper) I thought being in the woods, no TV, no internet, no cell phone (we didn’t answer them, only if it was my mom) would be the perfect way to connect with each other. I feel like there is always something else to do for entertainment and I wanted this trip to be about just us. The first day we were the only campers on our little loop. We sat outside under the shade of the trees and talked while snacking and gazing at the lake. It could not have been more perfect!
Friday afternoon brought us some neighbors. I was inside getting food together for grilling and Greg was outside getting the grill started. He came to the door and asked me if I heard what was going on. I said no, but stepped outside after gathering our ingredients and sat at the table while Greg began to cook. I hear some loud voices coming from the site across from us. There was a family, with 2 little girls, and a mother who was letting her husband (and the rest of the campers) know how terrible he was. The words that were coming out of her mouth were foul beyond belief. Her child (maybe 2 or 3 years old) repeated what she had called her husband. I was SO sickened with this. I know we all have moments that we are not at our best, but I try very hard to make sure words meant to hurt are never said in front of my children. What kind of example is that?
When this family left at the end of the weekend, after many, many terrible things were said including some directed at their children, you could almost hear the sigh of relief from the other campers. Her verbal abuse not only hurt her family, but affected those other families that were trying to enjoy time together as well.
I struggled with this so much over the weekend and the following week. Greg always jokes with me that I can’t let anything go. I have to analyze it to death. Truly, I do. I have wondered if this person has had so much hate in her life, that this seems normal to her. And how sad is that? Instead of being upset with her that she cast an unpleasant shadow over *my* weekend away, I am thankful that I was able to understand the power of her words.
So many times we say things intending them for one person. Those things may be hurtful or may not, but we need to be aware that the words we say can affect so many others. She didn’t try to speak in hushed tones, so the truth is, she may not have even realized what she was saying was wrong. Or, maybe she didn’t care. All I know is that while I do not know her whole story, I know that I am MUCH more aware of the things I say. I have prayed for those children and I have prayed for her and her husband. I know I will probably never see them again, but that family has made a profound impact on mine.