No Judging Allowed

The Grace and Mercy Flavored Slurpee


One early Sunday morning, I decided to walk to the 7-eleven as I needed to purchase a pack of bacon for breakfast. After all there’s no way I can have pancakes without bacon; that’s criminal. I knew having my son tag along would lead to one of two things, more money I would have to spend or an all out debate. Nevertheless, I caved in and agreed to allow him join me. Well true to form, as we walked through the 7-eleven doors, my son excitedly began to peruse each aisle with a clear intent and purpose I’d never seen; a real life example of a kid in a candy store. Before he could open his mouth, I said, you can only get a slurpee.

I headed in one direction and he reluctantly headed towards the slurpee machine. I snatched up a pack of bacon (appalled at the price tag) and moseyed over to assist my son. He immediately reached for an extra large cup to which I gently moved his hand over to the smaller size. After realizing, he would have to settle for a small slurpee, he began to pout. He folded his arms as if he had just drawn a line in the sand. Undoubtedly, he was unsatisfied with my decision and he wanted make sure I knew how he felt.

As any mother would do, without a word, I grabbed my bacon and sauntered to the register to pay for my items with my money. Before the clerk could complete the transaction, he indignantly asked if he could get something?  Without acknowledging his question, I grabbed my bag and receipt and walked toward the door.  Confused and panicked, he ran to catch me to plead his case to which I wanted no part. “Let’s go now and you’re not getting anything for being unappreciative”, I bellowed. As if suddenly, the flood gates had been opened, he began to wale and hold his stomach as if he’d just been punched in the gut, followed by an amazing encore of jumping up and down. I watched in disbelief as my child performed royally in front of a slew of onlookers.  He knew better. He knows me!

Every person in the store looked at him and suddenly diverted their condescending gaze at me (I crazily imagined). I returned a death stare that angrily shouted to my new audience: mind your business, I am a good parent, what are you looking at, don’t act like your kids are perfect, I know he’s a hot mess but he’s my mess and so on and so on. On cue, he marched out of the store full speed ahead in an attempt to get as far away from me and the excruciating pain of hearing no as quickly as he could. By this time, I was milliseconds away from imitating a play from Monday night football by charging after him and tackling him to the ground followed by a flag for unnecessary roughness. Instead I opted to pop him upside the back of his head a couple of times. (Yeah, I know, pray for me).

Still crying, he proceeded to cross the street and stomp his way home the entire 100 feet. As I watched him, I couldn’t wait until we met again. In less than a minute, he would be face to face with me. My plan was to tell him about his self and make sure he knew he would never get anything else ever again from me until he learned some appreciation. (yes, ever was a bit dramatic). I thought Lord I’d never met anybody so unappreciative in my life. Before I could finish my thought, “Tonya’s Top Ten List of Unappreciative Moments” movie title flashed before my eyes. I thought here we go!  Really?  Do you have to do this now God?

Immediately, I became irritated to say the least. I was upset that God would use this moment to show me something about me. I was upset that God wasn’t focusing on the real issue (some person or thing other than me). I was upset, as this wasn’t about me it. This was so unfair!

Feeling compelled, I stopped in mid stride and I began to watch “Tonya’s Top Ten List of Unappreciative Moments” movie being played in my head. With each moment, I saw examples of countless blessing I’d taken for granted. Sadly, I watched innumerable moments in which I was undeserving of God’s grace and mercy but he extended it in spite of.  Suddenly, I knew the same grace and mercy I had just watched didn’t match my version. My version was only shown when and if you met my ridiculous criteria.

As I began to cry and ask yet again for God’s forgiveness, the movie ended as quickly as it began and the credits began to roll:

Director – God Almighty
Writer – God Almighty
Cast – Every single person I’ve strategically placed in her life
Produced By:  – God Almighty
Original music by: – Heavenly Angels
Editing – God Almighty
Casting – God Almighty
Director’s Comments:  “Yes, she’s a hot mess, but she’s my hot mess and I love her.”

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