Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BLESSED (03/07/19)
- TITLE: Bless Your Heart
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Grandma kissed her head. "How was church?"
Wrigley plopped down next to her and sighed. “Grown-ups are hard to understand.”
Chuckling, Grandma nodded as she put her arm around Wrigley. “They can be for sure. So what's puzzling you today?”
“When I told the church ladies that Mom was in the hospital again, they were like ‘Oh bless her heart.’ ‘Cept they said it in a squeaky voice and then asked me all kinds of stuff about her. One lady even said that she wondered if Mom was really sick. And each time I answered, they made a clucking sound. It made me mad, but I’m not sure why.”
Grandma nodded. “Did it bother you because they were being nosy?”
“Kinda.” Wrigley shrugged her shoulders. “But it was more their squeaky voices. Especially when they kept saying, ‘Bless her heart.’ Then one asked, ‘Do you miss your mom when she’s in the hospital?’ I’m like yeah, duh!” Wrigley rolled her eyes.
Grandma covered her mouth, but a smile peeked out behind her fingers. “You didn’t really say, ‘Duh,’ did you?”
“No, but I wanted to. When I told them Dad takes us to visit her every day, they said, ‘Bless your little heart.’ Little heart. TAH! Like cuz I’m a kid, my feelings don’t matter. They didn’t say that exactly, but it sure seemed like it.” Wrigley felt tears stinging her eyes and buried her face into Grandma’s arm. “I thought blessing people was a good thing. Like when I say my prayers at night, I ask God to bless people. But it didn’t feel nice today.”
Brushing Wrigley’s hair out of her eyes, Grandma sighed and pulled her granddaughter closer. “I don’t know if I have the answer. Bless your heart can mean different things to different people. Some mean it as a way of feeling sympathy for the person.”
“Na-uh. Not them. They were being mean. I thought church people are supposed to be nice.”
“You’re probably right about it being unkind. You’re pretty empathetic.”
Wrigley jerked her head off Grandma’s arm and scurried backwards. She gulped back tears. “I’m not pathetic! Camden calls me that all the time, but I never thought you’d do it. You’re mean too!” Unable to hold back the tears, she started sobbing. When Grandma placed her hand on her shoulder, she shoved it off. “Go away!”
“Punkin, I would never call you pathetic.”
Wrigley put her fingers in her ears and scooted farther away from Grandma.
“Wrigley Grace!” Grandma gently pulled Wrigley’s fingers from her ears. “I’m speaking to you. Look at me.”
Groaning, Wrigley looked in Grandma's general direction, but refused to look into her eyes until Grandma placed her hand on Wrigley's chin and gently tilted it upwards. “I’m sorry you misunderstood me. I said empathetic, not pathetic.”
Wrigley stopped squirming. “What’s that?”
“Empathetic means you’re good at understanding how others feel. I’m guessing if you thought the ladies weren’t being sincere, you’re probably right because you have a special way of understanding feelings. Empathy’s a very special gift.”
“I’m sorry I called you mean. I didn’t—”
“Hush, child; hush.” Grandma scooped Wrigley into her lap and rocked her. It reminded Wrigley of how Grandma used to sit and rock her when she was little. It felt nice. Safe even.
After ten minutes or so, Wrigley said, “You know what Grandma?”
Grandma placed her finger on Wrigley’s nose. “You love me?”
Wrigley giggled. “Yeah, I do, but that’s not what I was gonna say. I was thinking about how safe I feel in your arms. Church is supposed to be a place where you feel safe too. But I didn’t today. Those ladies made me want to never go back again. But after talking to you, I realized a couple of things. I think those ladies need something to do instead of talking about others. Jesus wouldn’t like that at all. Plus, I always thought church is where Jesus lives. But I can feel him here in your arms way more than I do at church. And I’m never gonna be like those ladies when I get big. Instead, I wanna be more like you."
Grandma kissed Wrigley’s head and whispered, “Bless your heart!”
This time, it didn’t feel mean at all.
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