Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Stink Eye

Rhoda, sporting a scarf around her head similar to those my Grandmother used to wear, communicates her disapproval and displeasure...
One of my granddaughters, Rhoda, has a look about her that is hauntingly reminiscent of my late Grandmother. With Grandma, that look likely meant she was listening intently on the multiple-party telephone line to see who was telling who what and she urgently needed me to be still so she could hear. With our Rhoda, that look doesn't seem to imply intense concentration. Sadly, it simply translates into a big old Stink Eye.

Rhoda likes to object to things. Her dear mother tells me various reasons for Rhoda's displeasure and while I love being an agreeable sort, I sometimes respond with contrary opinions and point out that Rhoda is pretty bratty. Once Rhoda's five-year-old brother interjected his opinion into one of those conversations and he had concluded that Rhoda was "SPOILT" (t-and all).

Yesterday, Alicia brought three of her four children to Rolla  and they stayed at the shop with me for several wonderful hours. The kids were incredibly good (even Rho-Rho) and played like troopers while Alicia and I worked on one past-due project after another. Rhoda discovered some Christmas decorations that hadn't been properly stored and entertained herself with all the shiny little baubles.

"Whatcha got there Rho-Rho?" I would say.

Rhoda would look suspiciously at me, not offering for a second to show me her prize, but instead she seemed to be concentrating with all her might in keeping a level Stink Eye on me. As the day went by, though she faltered more and more.  For each time I queried, "Whatcha got there Rho-Rho?", she would turn to me and purse her lips together in a little line to keep herself from breaking into a smile. Sometimes, before she could squelch it, a toothy grin would briefly erupt.

With so many grand kids and less time now than ever to spend with them, I haven't gotten to know Rhoda the same way I did the older grandchildren. It's a sad thing for me in a lot of ways but life has to be lived right where you are when it comes along and it just is what it is. But I wonder with Rhoda what our relationship will one day be. Will she always be reserved? Will she always reign it in when we are together? Will I never know her as well as I do the older kids?

Interpersonal relationships are often mystifying and exhausting. They are also the only thing in life that really has any value. Being a friendly introvert, I am often mistaken by casual friends or coworkers as an outgoing person but really, I'd almost always rather stay home in the easy company of my family than venture into any social setting at all.

When I see Rhoda and her Stink Eye, I actually think I understand her and although I like to tease Alicia about her little brat, I don't think that really has too much to do with her disposition.

I've mentioned to Alicia before that it would just feel wonderful to be able to just squall out in a big old loud holler anytime you felt like it like little children do. All of life would be better. And I think maybe this is the same with the Stink Eye. Wouldn't it be wonderful just to pout all up in a big old ugly face anytime you felt like it like little children do? All of life would be better.

But speaking your mind and grumbling at others at any and every provocation... Immediately showing your displeasure and letting others know your petty opinion by giving snotty looks to people... These are not the behaviors we are called to live.

My precious little Grandmother that Rhoda resembles so often had a goodness and kindness in her that shone through every action she took and every word she ever said to me. She was gentle, loving, patient, generous and had all the time in the world for the ones she loved. She didn't think or speak ill of others. She didn't boast about herself and wasn't prideful or haughty. She quietly and day-by-day manifested the fruit of the Spirit.

My precious little introverted Rhoda Raindrop. She has a goodness and kindness in her that will shine through every action she takes and every word she ever says to me. She will be gentle, loving, patient, generous and have all the time in the world for the ones she loves. She will not think or speak ill of others. She will not boast about herself or be prideful or haughty. She will quietly and day-by-day manifest the fruit of the Spirit.

She might not do all these things today. Or this week or this year. She might not outgrow that Stink Eye until she's twenty-five and learns through heartbreak that you don't look at people in a mean way. She might not outgrow being SPOILT until she's forty and learns that having your own way is really something only the lonely and the lost think they want.

But she will be all these things and more-more-more. We have that Promise.

This is a a child who is loved. She is protected and defended by prayer. Her life is being built on a solid foundation that can withstand every storm.

What a faithful God who gives us such promises and hope. With them, we are able to laugh at The Stink Eye, and at all of the days to come, knowing that there will be plenty of time for all of us to grow into the beautiful works of art that God knew we would be before He even spoke the world into existence.

And also,there will plenty of time to really get to know my Rhoda Raindrop. All of eternity, as a matter of fact.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6