Much like my Granny, at times I have been known to hold a grudge.
Not so much a grudge perhaps; maybe more of a spite.
It is not exactly one of our finer, most upstanding traits.
Mama, being the nice, civilized one, usually has a different take on things.
With the exception of my first-grade teacher and maybe one or two others, Mama is one of those people who truly does try to live and let live.
“It ain’t natural!” Granny would declare when ever Mama would try to correct her wicked ways.
“Mama, you are sitting there delighting in someone’s anguish!” Mama cried.
Granny snorted. “Let me tell you something, Jean; these people would not be in this a-fix if they hadn’t sown some pretty bad seeds. They reaped the harvest they deserved.”
Now, Mama has never been a fan of karma.
She doesn’t like the idea of ‘what goes around comes around’ and has always tried to convince me that grace kind of covers our mistakes.
“There but by the grace of God we go,” Mama has said frequently throughout my life.
A phrase that would make Granny roll her eyes.
“Mama, why do you do that? You know very well that if it wasn’t for grace, we’d be in a heap of a fix most of the time.”
“I know, Jean, I know,” Granny began. “But you wanna know what tans my hide? Those people who are always, always doing something they shouldn’t be and ain’t good people. And every cussed thing goes their way. That ain’t right and it makes me madder than a wet hen.”
I wasn’t sure how mad a wet hen could get but if it as bad as Granny – the scariest person I have ever met – I didn’t want to come across one.
Granny may not have been exactly righteous in her indignation and complaint, but she had a point.
It can be tough to see people that maybe aren’t the best kind of folks in the world getting their way all the time, catching the good breaks, and having everything they want come to pass.
Granny dealt with this with one of her sisters – the one she didn’t really care for and it used to send Granny into a fit of fury.
“You really don’t know anything about the situation and she may not be that bad of a person,” Mama admonished.
Granny snorted her disdain. “I’ve known her all of my life; trust me.”
Mama accused Granny of being judgmental; Granny declared her opinions were factual.
I watched them disagree about this numerous time, neither finding victory in their argument.
It was impossible to pick a side in this debate, namely because I found both had valid arguments.
Mama has always felt like people would be happier if they just focused on their life and didn’t get preoccupied with what other people had going on. “Someone getting pie doesn’t mean you can’t have cake,” she has said.
Food metaphors normally drove her lessons home with me. I was glad to know I could still have cake, even if someone else had pie.
“What if I want pie?” I asked.
More specifically, what if I wanted their pie? And what if my cake hadn’t arrived yet?
“That’s their pie. Don’t worry about their table. Worry about yours. And if you are waiting on your cake to be served, maybe they had to bake it for you. Extra special. When it comes you will be even happier to get it because it was made just for you and worth the wait.”
I had been wrestling with some of those very demons not that long ago and brought them up to Mama.
She was probably wondering why the lesson has not sunk in yet.
“Lord, help. You get more and more like Mama every day,” she said under her breath.
“Kitten, are you really fussing about this?”
I assured her I was. I was beginning to think my cake order had been cancelled.
“You know, Granny always cussed the person she thought was getting what she wanted. It didn’t work either; it somehow seemed to create the opposite effect. It seemed to make things get worse for her and better for them.
“You can’t throw stones and expect good things to be thrown back at you. You need to try throwing some blessings and love into the situation if you want it to change.”
I didn’t want to throw love and blessings on the situation; the crazy redhead had set me up wanting cake years ago and gosh darnit, I wanted a corner piece with the most icing.
“Not gonna happen until you stop throwing those stones,” she said as she hung up.
Perhaps she is right.
Being bitter and angry did not serve Granny well; it did keep her going for over 90 years though.
But maybe, if I wanted the situation to change, the first thing I needed to focus on, was changing my attitude. Beginning with a shift towards putting love and blessings on the situation instead of anger.
All said, I still want my cake.