Rumble with Goliath

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By Katie Williams

Maybe it was because I am a little sleep deprived because three out of four children were finishing up their antibiotics for ear infection and I just got started on antibiotics myself for an ear and sinus infection. Maybe it was because I am four weeks pregnant with child number five and feel so protective during this fragile time. Maybe it was because he weighed in at over 200 pounds with a stature (?) of six plus feet and had an easy time pushing his fairly empty cart. You know those carts of retired people, only filled with a quarter gallon of milk, a small box of cereal, two apples, and one box of Little Debbie Snack Cakes. Well, I felt ill-matched. Weighing in at 117, five foot five inches, carrying my one year old on my hip, sweat dripping down my brow, all the while trying to single handedly maneuver an overflowing Wal-Mart cart with a defective wheel. My cart is bursting with gallons of milk, three cereal boxes, a smorgasbord of fruit and vegetables, cans and cans of food and bags of kitty litter at the bottom of the cart for proper weight distribution. Forget the Little Debbie Snack Cake box because I have my three year old sitting in the cart seat taking up any extra space that would be for sweet treats. My six year old and five year old are at the bow of our immense ship as we try to sail through the sales of Wal-Mart. Little did I know in Wal-Mart I would meet my daily dose of Goliath and I would confront him.

As we politely steered our cart around his, this retired gentleman started the quick jabs at me. “Are these all your kids?” he snidely said. I graciously nodded my head with a smile. Before I could dodge, another punch came my way. “Man, you sure have a lot of them. Bing, bing, bing! They are so close together!” he quipped rudely. “If I were you I would be taking Tylenol and aspirin all day due to headaches from those kids!” He laughed loudly as he played to the single crowd of the Wal-Mart employee who was stocking shelves right by us. I turned the corner of that aisle and could still hear their laughter bellowing at his comments.

I looked at my four little boys and their innocence and I thanked God for the child within my womb. This Goliath wanted to rumble, but this mama on first glance conceded the match. Three aisles and a checkout lane later, we meet again face to face. The six- year- old was unloading the cart and the three and five year old were quietly entertaining themselves, so I knew I was out of ear shot of them. With baby still on hip I turned to him, “Sir, the comments you made previously were rude and hurtful. It was inappropriate for you to make them especially in front of my children. I love my children and they are not headaches. They are blessings!”

I thought by this time he would be tired from sparring, but I was wrong. “Well, you have them bing, bing, bing, so close together. You must have started your family late in life. You really have your hands full.” So now my Goliath is not only commenting on the size and spacing of my family, but he is making remarks about a woman’s age. “I love my children and I wish you would not make such hurtful remarks again,” I firmly restated my position.
He grunted, “I have five children of my own and they have been trouble. If I see you again don’t worry I won’t make those comments to you.” I retorted, “I would appreciate it if you would never make those comments to ANY family.” I could see that my statements regarding the sanctity of life were not affecting him and in shear desperation to make a point I stooped low and went for the jugular by pointing out the blatant rudeness of his comments. “Sir, I love my children and I am sorry that you have had difficulties raising your children. But I must confess, my children don’t cause me headaches, it is just people like you who make comments like those that give me headaches and make me reach for my aspirin.” The uppercut blinded and silenced him.
I turned back to my corner of the ring and saw that my six year old had completely unloaded the whole cart and was already loading it back up again with the bagged groceries. The check-out woman commented what a good helper he was and said that he worked harder than any teenager. My heart was warmed. We headed out of the store and got loaded up into our vehicle. I hugged each of my boys as I loaded them into their car seats. You think I would have rallied at the final last witty knock-out punch I threw at my Goliath that day, but this victory was bitter-sweet.

The sweet part was in realizing what silenced my Goliath. It was my five smooth stones–my five children around me–their being, their smiles, their innocence, their sticky faces, their plethora of questions, their shoelaces that always need tying. Some say that David’s five stones represent the first five books of the Old Testament, which is the Word of God. David defeated Goliath with the Word of God. My children represent God’s word- “Go forth and multiply.”

The bitter part is that this poor man didn’t value his children as blessings; thus, they caused him grief which left him embittered. Unfortunately, I would venture to say that he doesn’t have any grandchildren to share his Little Debbie Snack Cakes with. Looking at my four smooth “stones” strapped in their car seats and patting the one “stone” growing in my womb, I know that today I left this battle with no scars, only the deep need to pray for this gentleman.
We were ill-matched, he was the one who was bitter and lonely and I was the one witnessing to the happiness of life and God’s creation. I threw up a prayer asking God to bring good to the situation, heal his wounded heart, and to make up for all charity that was lacking on my part. “But I also pray, my Eternal Giver, to continue to load my arsenal with as many ‘stones’ as you deem fit.” One should never be empty-handed when in Wal-Mart.

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