Some testimonies best kept to self

Published 3:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sometimes you get up on the wrong side of the bed. Other times, it just feels like you do.

Yesterday morning, I got up on the wrong side of the bed and it felt like it all day long.

The big papa possum that lumbers around my house at night had eaten all of Cat and company’s food and the cupboard was bare. Luckily, the store was not too busy. Only two customers in line in front of me. One was checking out; the other had 666 items in her buggy. She did not offer, me the courtesy of going ahead with my one bag of cat food.

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As I waited, patiently, the lady at the checkout was digging around in her purse for 86 cents, seemingly in pennies. “Twenty-six, 27 …”

Someone stepped in line behind me.

“Forty-one, 42…. 43.”

The line formed.


The line was snaking to the back of the store.

Yea! Another register opened.

“I’ll take somebody over here,” the cashier announced.

“No! No!” I wanted to yell. “Next in line. You say ‘Next in line!”

The folks in back of the line rushed over. They would be checked out and at McDonald’s eating breakfast before Ms. 666 checked out. She began to take the items out one at a time with snippets of conversation with the clerk in between.

I waited … and waited.

When I could wait no more, I walked over, put the bag of cat food on top of a stack of cokes and walked right out of there – giving testimony to my state of mind.

Testimony. That brought to mind another testimony I gave that I should have kept to myself.

I was teaching at a small rural school in the Florida Panhandle. A tent revival was underway on the far side of freshly cut hayfield. The revival was attended nightly by most of the folks in the area and consisted for singing, long-winded preaching and a time for testimonials.

Each day after the revival, some of the students, mainly girls, would congregate on the breezeway during lunch to re-tell the testimonials and give their own. When lunch was over, they would come to class weeping and crying and carrying on to distraction. For the first week, I let it ride but by Friday, and with another week of revival to go, I put on the brakes.

I told them I didn’t care how beautiful the testimonies were or how sorrowful, they were not to come through the classroom door sobbing and crying. They were not to say one word about “testimonies” in that room.

Not a word was spoken and none of their eyes met mine.

As they, somberly, filed out of class that day, one of the girls put a folded piece of paper on my desk. It read: Dear Mrs. Treadwell, we is Christians. We wish you was one, too.

I went back last night and bought that bag of cat food. It was still lying on top of the stack of cokes. My testimony had been in vain.