Well That’s Awkward!

My most embarrassing moment occurred when my children were very small while my husband was working to grow a church in a small community. There was a large room with a separate entrance at one end of our house; the small congregation used that room for services. Sunday School (boy, that’s an outdated term!) classes were held in our living room and even in our laundry room. My housekeeping skills were under scrutiny! The back part of our house, however, was not available for public use. Our bedrooms and bathroom were off-limits to church attenders.

One Sunday morning, I awoke feeling very sick, but I dressed for church anyway, thinking I would tough it out. However, there came a point when I realized I just couldn’t and definitely shouldn’t go. My fever and nausea were overwhelming, so I simply stripped down and flopped myself on top of the bed. I was extremely miserable but not as miserable as I was about to become.

At first, I thought I was hearing things in my sick delirium, but it soon became evident that someone was coming down the hall towards the bedroom. Before I could sort out what was happening, a man appeared in my bedroom door and said, “Excuse me, ma’am.”

I opened one eye and saw an older couple standing in my bedroom doorway; I was sprawled on top of my bed with my clothes lollygagging on the floor completely shirking their duty! I quickly grabbed at the covers and threw them over my head, and I hoped I covered everything else in all my flailing.

My disappearance under the blankets, however, was not a deterrent.

“Ma’am? Can you tell me where the restroom is?”

I pulled the blanket down from my face and pointed in the direction of the bathroom, our private family bathroom, and said as normally as I could, “At the end of the hall.”

The covers went back over my head and through the pounding of my heart, I listened until I heard the toilet flush and the water run in the sink. Can you believe I was trying to remember if the bathroom was clean? Were my toddler’s pajamas still on the floor? Was there a fresh hand towel? Had I remembered to put out a new container of hand soap?

The bathroom door opened, and their footsteps shuffled down the hallway towards my still-open bedroom door. My eyes were wide open, staring at the weave in the blanket. Then, they stopped. Yes, they STOPPED AT MY DOOR AGAIN! “Ma’am? Thank you very much. I hope you feel better soon.”

“Thank you.”

As soon as I knew the couple was safely back in the makeshift sanctuary at the other end of the house, I climbed out of bed and shut the door. Crawling back in bed, I was humiliated and angry.

How could this have happened? The restroom for the church attenders was well-marked. There were signs everywhere! I bet my husband left the bedroom door open OR someone had told the couple that there was another restroom in the house portion of the church. There had to be SOMEONE to blame! And why was I so polite? How could I ever show my face in public again?

The good news is that I survived, and I learned a little bit about myself and my priorities. In retrospect, I am thankful that I remained kind and helpful under the circumstances and that I cared about the condition of my bathroom. Don’t ask me why; I just am.

Since that day many years ago, I have encountered much worse situations – none of them as embarrassing, just more painful. Each time, I felt it was the end of my world, but it wasn’t. You know; you’ve been there too.

Most importantly, I eventually crawled out from under the covers, got dressed, and continued with life.

If you’re curious, I did encounter that couple again a few months later, except I was fully dressed and upright. However, I was dying a thousand deaths on the inside while my husband engaged in casual conversation.

Whatever you are facing today, you can get through it. Trust me.

One Response

  1. You did the best you could do under the circumstances. You actually didn’t have too many options. Acting as you did with such a short flurry of modesty is a trick a lot of public speakers use to calm themselves down when speaking in front of a large audience.

    I felt your embarrassment but also your recovery while the event was still happening. To put sone of the onus on the elderly couple I wish you would have asked in an accusatory tone “Did you flush and wash your hands?”

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