Mad at the world, or not

It was New Year’s Eve and I was traveling home on the Missouri River Runner from Saint Louis to Kansas City. During the four-hour train ride home, I had a lot of time for introspection. Just the day before my mother had been laid to rest in her homeland thousands of miles away. I had also spent that day shopping with my daughter for bridal gowns. It was a bittersweet day to say the least.

So, you can imagine my being just a tiny bit annoyed when an elderly gentleman walked by my seat and mocked my posture by folding his arms and saying, “You look like you are mad at the world.”

It took me a second or two to realize the old coot’s snide comment and posturing was directed at me. I was taken aback, so I didn’t say anything then and I ask your forgiveness as I take a moment to do so now.

You, jerk, you!

Who are you to know my mind, my heart, and my spirit?

How dare you make a frivolous comment about something of which you know nothing and to someone you have never before met or never again will meet?

The saddest part is I don’t think you have any idea it was mean, or hateful, though I suspect you realize it was unnecessary.

If I had to do it over again, I would have happily risked being booted from the train to confront him and tell his smug old tail to kindly keep his comments to himself.

But, I didn’t. Grace prevailed

So, now that you have allowed me to vent, I choose to learn from this experience and try harder to not judge any book by its cover. Someone may look mad or sad or glad, but who am I to judge their journey?

Let’s commit to 2015 being a year of sharing deeper grace with one another even with old coots.


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About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

2 responses to “Mad at the world, or not”

  1. Teresa Ryan says :


    Thank you for your honest and insightful post. I’m sorry about your mother, it’s been 18 months and I still find myself missing mine. Congratulations on your daughter’s upcoming wedding.

    Thank you for the reminder of grace. It’s so much easier to swallow than an old shoe.

    Have a blessed 2015.

  2. Philip Cummings says :

    Sorry to read about your loss and about the unkindness of the “old coot.” And yet, I’m always grateful when grace prevails saving us from ourselves and holding ugliness at bay.

    I hope you are well, my friend. As you can maybe tell, I’m a little behind in online reading, but I’m glad to have read this.

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