Today I went to Starbucks
This is a big deal for me
Because only in the last few months have I been able to go IN a Starbucks
Have you ever noticed Starbucks is small?
And the spaces are tight?
This is going to sound silly
But for the longest time I’ve just wanted to be able to walk inside
With my laptop
And sit there
Like everyone else
Such a simple thing to do
But it was ruled out
Because of my size
Today was different
I packed up my laptop and walked into Starbucks
Ordered my coffee
And sat at a little table in a little chair
Amazed by the fact that I was there
Fitting in with the rest
Do you know how long it has been since I blended in anywhere?
No more people with wide eyes giving me looks of shock when I walk through the door
Because they’re not used to people that big
Evidently I blended in so well that a woman waiting for her coffee struck up a conversation with me
About a baseball game she had been to
Where she was “forced” to sit next to a “disgustingly huge” woman
“….And this woman has to ALWAYS sit in that section at every game…She insists on coming…”
“…And it just ruins the whole experience for me…”
So she is going to have to change where she sits
Because “anywhere else would have to be a better view”
And when she was saying this to me I was thinking
“Is she really saying this to ME?”
But then she put her hand on my shoulder, shook her head, and said “You know what I mean? I just hate it when that happens!”
Two things popped in my head
One–I look normal to some people
Obese–yes– but not shockingly so
I can blend into society again
And second—wow….I can’t believe what a jerk this lady is!
Because she didn’t say she wanted to move because the woman was taking up too much room
She said it was the view
The very fact that this woman existed
And was within her sight
At first I felt angry
Angry at people who feel this way
Because I know how much courage it must have taken for that obese woman to go to the baseball game
And this woman standing before me said the obese woman “insisted” on coming
In other words, everyone else could show up and it was fine
But when this woman showed up she referred to it as “insisting” to be there
Like someone who doesn’t belong and shouldn’t have come
Like the lepers from Luke 17:11
Who were not allowed in the village
When Jesus walked by, they stood at a distance
Because they had been told by society that they did not belong
That they had no right to be there
And Jesus’ response?
He healed them!
After all they had been through
No hope in sight
They were healed
But out of ten lepers only ONE returned to say thanks
So as I was sitting there drinking my coffee
Wondering why this woman was such a jerk
I was reminded of the lepers
The ones who had lived in a world of hurt
But suddenly were healed
And distracted by their new life
Did not even bother to say thanks
I thought “Let me not be like that”
For I too am being healed
I’m sitting here in a Starbucks blending in
To the point that a woman I don’t even know makes a comment about a super obese woman TO ME
Because in her mind, I’m NOT that
And I thought to myself
Let me be grateful
Let me not ever disappear into my happy new life and forget to turn back and see those who are still sitting on the outside of the village exiled
Still waiting for someone to heal them
I had no idea who the obese woman who “insisted” on going to ball games might be
But I wanted to cry for her
And then my anger suddenly changed
And I asked myself “Could this ever be me?”
I would never judge an obese person because I’ve been there
But where haven’t I been?
What haven’t I experienced?
Are there times I pass judgement because I just don’t know?
Because I haven’t traveled that path?
Or walked a mile in those shoes?
Let me scour my conscience right now and INSIST on never doing that again
And then I was thankful
Thankful to that woman standing in line waiting for coffee
Because she taught me two things
Don’t judge what you haven’t lived and can never understand
AND…be thankful for every pound you’ve lost
Be thankful every second of the day you aren’t obsessing over food
Be thankful for every day of healing you’ve received
And don’t forget those who still live outside the village walls
Waiting for someone to bring them hope
Because they need it
Don’t we all?