Who Were You Before?

‘MILLIE SINCE 1988’.  That’s what it said on her name tag.  When she walked away from our table, I started to tell my husband and son, but all I could do was giggle.  The words had been printed out with a label maker, all in a straight line.  Bubba, having my sick sense of humor, had the same thought I did. “So who was she before 1988?”

Millie was our waitress at the neighborhood restaurant where we’d gone for a Saturday morning breakfast.  She was much older than most waitresses – I felt like I was being served by my grandmother.  After she’d brought our food and we’d chatted a little, I asked her. “So Millie, your name tag says ‘Millie since 1988.’  I can’t help wondering, who were you before 1988?”  She smiled, touched her name tag, and said, “Well, I used to be Mildred, but since 1988 is how long I’ve worked for Denny’s tm.” We laughed together; she poured some more coffee, and made her rounds to the other tables.

It made me think that maybe I should start wearing a name tag that reads ‘Mary since 1972’.  That way, when people ask, “Who were you before you were Mary?”  I would answer, “I was a sinner, saved by grace. I was lost, and Jesus found me.  I was blind, but now I can see.  I was an orphan, but now I’m a child of the King.”

It doesn’t hurt any of us to remember where we’ve been, who we used to be, and from where Jesus has brought us.  I would say, with the psalmist, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:2-3 (NIV)

So who were you, before?

Copyright Mary E. Egidio 2010  – Permission is granted to share this article, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes  (you can share it, but tell who wrote it, where you found it, and don’t sell it)

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