Growing up, I was known as the teacher’s pet, the smart aleck—the girl who tutored older kids with their chemistry lessons. But even with all the apparent book smarts and random useless facts, I found myself utterly humiliated when I was caught in a pickle. I mean a literal pickle.
As a 19-year-old sitting with friends at the dinner table, behold for the first time in my entire life I discovered a pickle was a cucumber that just had been put in a pickling solution. I’m not joking.
Embarrassment and bright red cheeks flushed my face—people blinked at me with surprise. You really didn’t know a cucumber was a pickle? Nope.
Fast forward a decade, and I still tell this story to myself . . . When I don’t understand someone else’s decisions or hurtful words that caught me off guard. When I am told by other moms their seasons of struggles, I’ve already been through. When moments of empathy or compassion creep up with a disgusting replacement of annoyance. When I consider shrugging off what seems to me as a small struggle. I remember being caught in a pickle.
I remember being embarrassed, but more so, I remember the price of gaining knowledge that seemed so obviously simple to those around me.
We interact with people all the time who say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. It seems like a normal, everyday occurrence in this place we call life. There are those moments in life when I’m still in shock at how others respond to things we think people should just simply know how to handle or talk about.
Don’t they know my miscarriage was heartbreaking? Don’t they know that with postpartum depression, winning can merely mean getting out of bed that day? Don’t they know telling me to just do it sounds ridiculous and stupid? Don’t they know I’m trying my hardest? Don’t they know their words cut like blades? Don’t they know I tried not to end up taking these stupid pills? Don’t they know what I’m dealing with? Don’t they know I’m trying to be the best mom, wife, and friend?
The truth is I’ve come to find out everyone has a caught in the pickle moment. So instead of embarrassing them, cutting them out of my life, or bawling out on my pillow that they don’t understand OCD, PTSD, or PPD, I’m going to simply forgive and show grace.
This time I’m going to remember everyone has a caught in the pickle experience, and I’m going to respond with love. Because that’s what I need in my moments. His overwhelming, grace-filled love. Taking the knowledge He gave me all those years ago to respond with humility and kindness today—well, I’m proof that it still changes me every day. Turns out, getting caught in a silly pickle changed my life for the better.
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)