“Hannah! Come quick!” I left what I was doing to go see whatever it was that was causing the urgency in my boss’ (I’ll call her Audrey) voice. “Look!” she said, “That’s the girl that my husband said he loves. The one in the gray pants.” I looked at the lady she was talking about. She was shorter and fluffier than Audrey “How can he say that?” she asked me. I don’t remember what I said and to my regret I don’t remember saying anything.
That is just one example of the frantic-ness which occurred often in the 4+ months I knew her.
It was a daily occurrence. I would get to work at 7 in the morning and shortly after that Audrey would get there. She usually seemed to be hung over from the night before and it would take about 3 hours for her to come around. When she did start talking she was usually mad at the person above her (the manager of the store where I worked) and there was always a story from her time at the bar the night before or it was a story of how she sat down by the pond fishing till midnight or 1:00 in the morning… and every day there were tears. They usually lasted through the whole day. Many days she spent a good fourth of her day outside on the phone crying. There was deep hatred inside. And the lies…to customers, to us girls working under her, to the guys above her… lies to everyone about everyone… it was better to just figure something out on your own than trying to ask her because what she would tell you, you would soon discover was not the truth.
The last time I saw her was back in August 2014. She had left work that night muttering hatred and threats aimed mainly at the store manager.
I haven’t ever been able to stop thinking of her. At times I want to but for the most part I don’t. What I do want to forget is the stress that was there for 4 months. What I don’t want to forget is her. I want to remember what God had to teach me about loving the unlovable. I remember so clearly thinking how she is equal to me. Sure, I was raised in a Christian home and at the age of 18 my life was vastly different then hers at 50. Much more ‘good’. While I may have never had abortions, gotten drunk every night, slept with every available man or what have you, I still couldn’t have any pride in thinking God loved me more. Because He doesn’t.
I wish I could say that she came to know Jesus and that the whole entire situation changed but I can’t. What I can say though is that God showed me a whole different meaning to the word love. And when I see how He loves people like Audrey it’s very squelching to any pride that He would love me more because of how much ‘better’ I am.
I don’t work at that particular store anymore, but it’s interesting the reactions I get when I tell people what I miss the most from my 17 months there. I tell people honestly that the thing I miss the most is working with the people. I miss working right beside them every day. I miss being in on their lives. It was my all time favorite activity of the day to see a co-worker sad and have them laughing and positive till they left that night.
I know some people think it wasn’t a very good environment to surround myself with. “What terrible company for a young person…” I can almost hear them thinking… It was dark. But God was also at work there. I felt His Spirit there. Some days when the darkness and stress was so heavy that it felt claustrophobic another worker would tell me how glad they were that I was there. I would give them a hug. Tell them how glad I was to know them…or give them a compliment. It would make their day just hearing words of kindness. Other days it was them giving me a hug. But lest you think I always embraced the stress and every other chance I had to show complete Christlikeness… I didn’t.
All that said…Don’t shy away from loving the ‘unlovable’. After all, who is the unlovable? It’s us just as much as it is them. Open up your life and let Jesus love them through you. You won’t ever regret it. I promise.