That Rude Lady at the Gym

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms” 1 Peter 4:10. 

Recently a friend and I were attending a group-fitness class at the local YMCA, doing what we always do: chatting and catching up a bit while sweating. It works for us. It helps to ease the pain of renegade rows to have a buddy next to you to shoot the breeze with. However, a nearby woman did not agree with that theory. I felt her dagger-eyes early on, but ignored it. After all, we were in the back, we were quiet, and we were still getting our workout on. We were fine.

About halfway through the class that lady walked right up to us and with a snappy tone said, “Excuse me, but would you please stop talking you are distracting me!” I was down in plank position, and felt immediately irritated, but piped up a chirpy, “SURE!” My friend and I exchanged those oh-my-gosh-are-you-kidding-me glances and we laughed a little. Whatever, I thought.

There was part of me that felt like ‘how dare she.’ Doesn’t she realize this is my time during the day, away from kids, to speak to another adult without interruption? Doesn’t she realize how much I have to catch up with my friend about? But the truth is, she doesn’t know any of those things, and how could she? She doesn’t know me. But just the same, I don’t know her.

I don’t know if she was already having a bad day, or if she’s battling terrible home situations. I don’t know if she doesn’t have a friend to catch up with at all. I don’t know her and I can’t judge the way she reacted to us that day, even though my flesh so badly wanted to. I needed to just let it go and realize that sometimes we all just have those days, and we don’t know everyone’s story.

God, help me to have a more heavenly understanding of people and the situations they’re going through. Let me remember that there’s always ‘more to the story’, things I’ll never know, and apply grace.

WRITTEN BY KATIE BALLA

Sarah Witmer