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Undoing The Doing And Undoing The Rebuff

Updated on April 5, 2012

Life is full of lessons to be learned.

Some words and actions are not unkind, but feel as if they are at the time.
Some words and actions are not unkind, but feel as if they are at the time. | Source

Did you ever think you were doing something worthwhile to help others, and then found your efforts held of little value? It can sometimes leave a lasting lesson.

My wife had two such experiences she has long since forgotten, and why I am hanging onto the memory of them I will leave to you to consider:

She had a catering and sewing business in Falls Church, Virginia called “Stitch ‘n’ Thyme” and in the course of that business she had a sewing client who brought a piece of fine material to have a specific dress tailored for her from the material. After carefully defining the end result and having both a first and a final fitting, the dress was ready to be picked up, only to have the client proclaim that the material had been “ruined” and she didn’t want to pay! She was told there would be no charge for the hours of invested work. She took the dress and that was supposedly the end of it, until several months later my wife happened to be in Pennsylvania at a formal banquet related to her new work with refugees as a field worker for the International Rescue Committee. The “Stitch ‘n’ Thyme client also attended the banquet wearing the very same, dress , without any alterations, which Manolie and one of her employees had hand sewn for her! She looked, and apparently felt, splendid in the “ruined” material and dress.

The second experience occurred after we moved to Utah. [Keep in mind that while still in Falls Church Manolie’s “Stitch ’n’ Thyme" had catered sit down Italian wedding receptions to the praise of knowledgeable Italian families and diplomats in the Georgetown section of the District of Columbia.] In Utah at a church supper she was laying lasagna strips for the featured dish of the evening and a woman seeing Manolie, an Asian, laying lasagna strips, abruptly took her by the arm saying “You probably don’t know much about laying lasagna strips. Your help is needed over here doing the dishes.” Manolie did a good job of that, too.

I will add a similar experience of my own. My Dad always had a fine vegetable garden. One day I saw him weeding between rows of corn, so I grabbed another hoe and worked weeding other rows until we met in the middle of the corn patch. Dad thanked me and I watched as he continued to weed the very rows I had just capably weeded in an effort to help him! I understood that it was an act of “possession” of Dad staking his claim that the whole garden was his own, but it caused me to decide that I was perfectly willing that it should be. Later, in his late 80’s, “his garden” needed weeding which would have been difficult for him to keep up with. I was home for a short visit and unbidden I took a hoe and weeded the whole garden in a relatively short period. Dad thanked me with these words: “You did a fine job. It would have taken me hours to do what your just did.” It was finally okay for me to share some labors helping in “his garden.”

No one likes to have good efforts, well intended, rebuffed for any reason, valid or not. And, as hard as it is, we need to chalk those occasions up to “life” and not let them affect our own view of the individual or the world…as hard as those occasions may be to dismiss and move on from. They may be there for our learning and experience, for we will be called on later perhaps to forgive much more serious offenses.


© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.

Weeding made easy....


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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Sueswan: I am unclear on why the lasy in question should have "paid for the dress"? That she should have apologized is certain.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      I remember when I was a child, my sister and I were with my mom at the laundromat. My mom started to use a washer when this woman came over and started yelling that it was her washer. It wasn't but my mom let her have it and used another washer.

      It would have been nice if the lady with the dress finally got a conscience and came back and paid for the dress or at least apologized for her behavior.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh, Perspycacious, I adore all of your writing. I gain something from everything you write, even if it clarifies some personal difference in opinion. You always leave me with a lot to think about...and I do. Please accept my apologies for ever leading you to think otherwise.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Amy Becherer: You have read her biography "Once Upon A Throne" so you know of my good fortune and that this world was a better place long ago and now because of her. I'm glad you found something of value this time around, too.

      You are in my prayers for all you are, too.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      flashmakeit: I don't think it was the church lady not knowing how to ask for help. I think it was more the stereotyping and hasty judgement that an Asian certainly would know nothing about making lasagna. We can't judge a book by its cover.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Usually, on the occasions I've been rebuffed, it does not affect the feelings I have for the person who tells me the correct way of accomplishing a task, but rattles my self-confidence to the core.

      The thoughts that left the biggest impression on me from your thought-provoking words, perspycacious, are your words that express the graciousness of your wife. as you eloquently relay the description of the incident where she was relegated to dishwashing, where she quietly gave her best. Her actions speak loudly to her sincerity in her efforts to truly be of service to whatever the task may be. Without having met her, I believe you are a lucky man and the world is a better place. I love this article.

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      That is disrespectful how that lady did your sweet gifted wife by not paying for the dress she worked so hard on. She should not worry about people asking someone to do odd unwanted job at a church because it okay since you are helping out in some way. That silly lady just did not know how to ask for help. Bless up for being kind.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      rebeccamealey: Moving on is more important than stewing in our own juice. One thing life surely gives us: lots of opportunities to learn and practice forgiveness.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Wow! If I had been that lady in the dress, I would have been truly ashamed. I hate being swindled. Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed it.