My husband was in seminary, studying for his Masters of Divinity degree. As a soon-to-be pastor’s wife, I thought I knew what was expected of me… always have the right answer and be ready to give it. Well, that was before Sue called me.
Sue was the wife of one of my husband’s college buddies. I didn’t know her other than having attended their wedding a couple of years previously. The night she called, my husband was out and as I told her he was not available, she broke down in tears. She poured out a story of loss and hurt, husband having left her and her recent brief involvement with another fellow on the rebound. Then, she blurted out, “and I’m pregnant!” What should I do?
I quickly ransacked my mind for what Bible verse I might give her to help her think through her dilemma, and, although I don’t remember what I said, it was probably pretty religious-sounding and not very helpful. What I DO remember, was her response: “Judi, are you for real? I mean, are you a real person with real problems? Can’t you relate to my hurt at all?”
Thankfully, instead of reacting, I stopped and listened. And, then I ate a little humble pie. She was so right! I was being so careful to say and respond in a “right”(and unfortunately pious-sounding) way, that I totally missed out on connecting with her at a heart and soul level. And that memory has stuck with me through the years, reminding me that the most important thing is not having all the right answers and sounding good…but really listening with my heart and responding to others in a humble way.
Sue lives far away, but still calls me on occasion. We have a long-standing friendship that was born of her letting me know I wasn’t being “real” that night and what followed as I sat in humility to hear her heart and respond. She had her baby, and I am that now grown woman’s godmother. Sue is one of those dear friends who tells it like it is and I am so very thankful for that humbling experience 44 years ago and the lessons I am still learning as a result. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble” – Proverbs 11:2. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist