A couple of Sundays ago, one of my favorite little old ladies came up to me after church; she gushed and oohed and ahhed over the little one, and complimented me on how skinny I looked having just had a child. I looked at her, and I looked down at my tummy that still done-lapped over my waist and thought about the dreamy In n Out vanilla shake and cheeseburger, no onions, I’d just consumed the afternoon before. I thought about how my old jeans still didn’t fit, and did she notice that I only seemed to wear stretch pants these days? So I gave her a thank you-but.
“Well, thank you but I still have a long way’s to go.” I took her genuine compliment, swirled it around in the messed-up blender of my own misguided perceptions and threw it out the window. That’s when she tossed it back to me.
“Say thank you, Jackie.”
I looked at her. “Huh?”
“I said, say thank you, Jackie.”
I paused, confused. I cocked my head to the side and looked at her quizzically: What was I supposed to say in return? Oh, that’s right: “Thank you, Jackie.”
But did I believe it?
Somewhere along the way, I’ve become a thank you-butter. We’ve become a culture of thank you-but’s. Genuine compliments are dished out, only to be received and swirled around in the jumbled mess of who our minds think we’re supposed to be. Let’s be honest here: like much of the female population, I’ve continued to hold onto the belief that I’m too fat and need to lose another 10 pounds. I remember believing that I was one size too big for the first time in the 3rd grade – I read “One fish, two fish” to my little sister, and climbed up and down the stairs of our backyard treehouse, and had dreams of becoming an astronaut someday, and I believed that I should have been a size 8 instead of a size 10. At nine years old. And thus I began to dish out the thank you-but’s.
My resolution is this: I don’t want to be a thank you-butter anymore. I want to just say thank you and receive the kind words as they were meant to be heard. I want to tuck those delicious words into my pocket and carry them around near my heart, and not worry so much about who I’m not but instead be okay with who I am. And when I then give a sweet morsel of truth to a friend, I don’t want it to be thrown back with a side of butter.
Is it just me?0