Day 1 – Spit-Proof Grace: My ‘Desculpe, Obrigada’ Moment

Dear Diary, “12 Days of Christmas”: Day 1/12 – spit-proof grace

Mizé asked me ‘not to think.‘ To be honest, this statement was made under completely different circumstances, but it made perfect sense to use it here. So, knowing I lack wisdom, I won’t think about what I am going to write; I will just let it flow from my heart and let you the reader be the judge.

December 13, 2023.

I woke up truly tired, and what came to my mind were the words of my Ify Okafor – a fairy godmother. Like every other person, I had told her that I wanted God to give me faith, wisdom, and strength because everything in this city was beginning to wear me out. She said, ‘Don’t expect God to fall from heaven to grant these to you with a magic wand; He will give you situations where you will learn faith, wisdom, and strength.’ One of them happened today.

I walked out of my flat to take a walk before I joined the mass at 8 am. As usual, it was quiet and serene until I was jolted out of my thoughts by this grumpy woman who brushed by me hastily and attempted to spit at me, but it fell on the floor right before my feet.

As I said, I woke up tired or, should I say, mentally exhausted, so I couldn’t do what the normal me would have done—ask her why she did that to get an apology or ignore her, dismissing her as mad. But look at me quickening my pace till I caught up with the woman just by the traffic light that made us stop before the road to Madalena’s church. What I really wanted to do was spit at her face, but what I found myself doing was saying, ‘desculpe’ and ‘obrigada’ in succession, meaning ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ in a weird circle of politeness.

The woman spat again, this time, it landed on my cardigan and a bit sprayed on my face, and I said again, ‘desculpe’ and ‘obrigada’ with tears running down my cheeks. The traffic light showed green, and we kept on walking; now we had walked past the street that led to Rua da Madalena, and we were at Rua de São Julião intersection heading for Praça do Comércio. At the third time, she did the same thing again, and a worker on Rua dos Fanquerios saw it this time. I said ‘desculpe’ and ‘obrigada’ and I was completely in tears.

The worker who could identify me as an over-a-year early morning walker on my street, didn’t understand what was going on. He stopped to take a look at what was happening as he clearly saw the woman spit on me. He walked behind us for a few seconds. Not once did I stop because I didn’t know what I was feeling. Was it self-pity? Was it anger? Was it pain? Was it empathy for this woman who probably would have a bad day for the rest of her life, or was this her showing me hate? I couldn’t understand anything.

As I was processing what I felt, a hand touched me from behind. It was the man and another worker offloading a truck. They gave me a bottle of water. I said thank you, washing off the billions of microorganisms in the spittle that had just bathed pretty little me. I told them ‘obrigada’ and I bowed my head, showing the extent of my respect and gratitude. The water was like healing because my skin was crawling out of me without having a place to run to.

I walked till I got to Praça do Comércio, and I wondered how one human could possibly gather so much spittle in the mouth. The air was fresh, and although I normally would cringe and mop, I was just crying today. Then it struck me. The passage I read just before I left the house, Hebrews 4:15, ‘Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on earth, he was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but he never sinned.’

I tried to gather spittle in my mouth; I couldn’t. Then I burst out laughing like a madwoman. I told myself if I were told to spit to save my life, I couldn’t even do it – I’d just perish. Now imagine the amount of spittle Christ received when he was scourged by Pilate. The amount of possible spittle Christ received when he was born from endearing kisses from Our Lady Immaculate and St. Joseph.

The amount of spittle from the animals in the manger. Because if I were an animal at the time that Jesus was born in the manger, I would have sensed his presence as transcendentally beautiful and, of course, stolen more than one kiss or a bite or two while Mary was watching, showing my adoring love for the infant Jesus. And, of course, trust my brain; it didn’t stop there. It went as far as imagining the three instances of miracles performed by Jesus using spittle.

And I told myself, “not bad at all” – for this Lord and how I feel right now, I offer it all up in union with the holy mass offered throughout the whole world for the intentions of your sacred heart and that you would grant me wisdom to embrace humility and remember that truly, in my land and in the land of the foreigners where you called me out to, to dwell, I am nothing and you are everything. For you, the maker of the universe suffered worse in the hands of the humans you created and still, you love so deeply. I want to love like you.

What are you offering up to the Lord today?

PS: Don’t you dare spit at me when you see me; I am capable of making you lose a set of front-row teeth. See you tomorrow – “Até amanhã”! 😂🤣🤣😂🤣😂🤣

For a previous post: see Boundless love by yours truly

Comments (14)

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  3. Shewulf


    What????? Why did you let the racist get away with spitting on you 🤬😡 Always confront them whenever it happens. So sorry you had to go through that.

    • Reply

      Let’s just say I wasn’t considering all her actions. I couldn’t believe it myself, and to top it off, I have never faced such a situation in my entire life, certainly not in this city where everyone seems to be so full of light and love. So, I was shocked as hell and I couldn’t find the strength to join issues with someone I believe deserved my pity for she obviously was full of a lot of garbage.

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