Sticks and Stones

Bev’s thick blonde hair flowed around her shoulders and down to her waist. Thin with hips a model would covet, I didn’t think she’d ever want to be friends with someone like me and so when she and her husband agreed to join my husband and me in our marriage ministry I was thrilled. Alone in a restroom, I finally had the opportunity to tell her how beautiful I thought she was.
“Me?”she said, sounding amazed. “What do you mean? I’m not beautiful.”
“Of course, you are.”
“No, look.” She pointed at bridge of her nose. “Don’t you see it?”
All I saw was a perfect nose. She turned sideways.
“The bump. Don’t you see it?”
Upon further examination, I noticed a small hump, but nothing extraordinary.
“I was teased growing up,” she said. “The other kids in my neighborhood called me witch. I don’t see anything but that bump when I look in the mirror.”
Suddenly I realized the power of name calling. This woman was in her thirties, long past the years of those childhood taunts. Yet they rang in her head, filtering the truth. How sad.

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