At the shopping centre, one or two people doubtless saw my impatience as I made it obvious in the checkout line. Were my thoughts as obvious to those around me as my non verbals? I really hope they weren’t. I can identify any number of stupid people you see. I am an expert. Stupid people are those who:
Park their trolleys at the narrowest point of the aisle;
Put junk food in their trolley even though they are obviously very overweight;
Allow their kids to run unchecked down the aisles;
Take longer than I think they should to load their groceries;
Waste time chatting to the checkout operator;
Select a grocery item that needs a price check;
Pay by credit card and need to sign the voucher;
Rumage in their change purse for the correct money; or
Just do things at a different pace or in a different order than I think they should.
I reckon anyone looking for evidence of my impatience, intolerance and straightout dismissive judgementalism would not have been disappointed this morning.
In total contrast, last week I heard my son-in-law tell about a recent food shopping experience of his. It was a good news story and I was proud of him when I first heard it. I ‘m still proud of him. It’s myself that I am not proud of.
He was in the local grocery store and stood behind an elderly man who appeared confused and was struggling to use his credit card at the checkout. To make matters worse the checkout operator was very young and inexperienced and was not handling the situation well. The elderly man grew more and more flustered and confused and began to cry quietly before starting to walk away leaving his groceries behind.
My son-in-law quickly and quietly swiped his own credit card through the machine and called after the man to come back as his payment had gone through after all. He warned the young checkout operator to silence as they both packed the man’s groceries into his shopping bag.
He did not tell the story to draw attention to himself. He was more interested in making the point that the man probably should not have been put into a position where he was not able to cope. Carers should have been with him, my son-in-law said.
Well, it seems to me a carer WAS with him. My son-in-law showed this old man care and love and respect without a second thought. I am humbled by his example.
Whatever I say and profess to believe about love, did anybody see love in me earlier today?
The answer to that should bring a great big stinging slap across the back of my head the next time I am tempted to be anything less than what I am called to be.