After my parents divorced, my great Aunt Lucille would scoop me up just about every Sunday to attend church alongside her family. I loved being around their family and the perk of going to Wyatt’s Cafeteria after church each Sunday was the icing on the cake. We sat in the same area just about every time we visited and my favorite waitress would come around repeating the only three words she knew in English, “Coffee, Tea, Wata?”
Even though I enjoyed being in Sunday school around other kids my age, I was very aware of them knowing scriptures when the teacher asked questions or asked for them to recite a particular verse. I never raised my hand because my mama and I did not study the bible at home. We had the big pretty cream bible that sat in the middle of the coffee table with reverence. I even got a whooping one time for using it as a tray to practice my spelling words. Yet, we never opened it up to memorize verses.
Well, one Sunday, the teacher introduced a game where the kids had to stuff their faces with saltine crackers until she blew a whistle. When she blew a whistle, whoever recited the verse she called out word for word received a prize from a toy chest.
I knew good and well that I would not be able to recite the verse but I stood ten toes down in the middle of that circle and ate cracker after cracker until class ended (because I was hungry). I was laughing so hard by the time my auntie picked me up that I had a hard time swallowing the last of my crackers.
When my auntie learned of my source of laughter, we shared a good laugh in line at the cafeteria. However, when we were seated at our table, she explained to me that sometimes people use humor to cover up their insecurities. “And that’s okay Stacie because it helps to make you not feel so bad. But you have to deal with it. So if there is something about yourself you don’t like or that makes you uncomfortable, deal with it.”
And so I did, I told her I would learn the Lord’s Prayer because that was one I heard a lot of the kids recite in Sunday School. Now the story could end here letting you know that I learned it and never ate crackers again just so I could have an extra snack but if you want to know more, keep reading.
My mama heeded my plea to help me study and we set about teaching me the Lord’s prayer. I even used this challenge to enter my elementary school’s oratorical contest. When I was called to the front of the class in my weekday school to recite my entry for the oratorical contest, my classmates immediately started laughing when they heard me begin, “Our Father,” I said loud and proud. The whispers and jests I heard in the background made me so angry that I totally lost my concentration and forgot just about every word I studied over the last two weeks.
“Girl, you can’t say the Lord’s prayer as a school poem.”
“She don’t even know the Lord’s prayer.”
“She won’t win this contest.”
“That’s what she get. Always showing out”
What my auntie had not told me is that people will also use anger to cover up insecurities. So, when I punched the loudest heckler in his arm on my return to my desk, I was just as shocked as he was. While that cost me a trip to the office and playground suspension, it taught me to never show up unprepared again.
What have you used to cover up your insecurities?