Author’s Note: I am a Christian. If you are not, cool, just replace “God” below with “karma”, “universe”, etc. It’s my opinion that the lesson taught to me below is universally applicable to all of the above and we as a society are too ugly to each other. I really needed to hear what God was saying to me that day and maybe you do too.
God works in mysterious ways. Life has taught me that this is not just an opinion being expressed, but a matter of fact. Yet I am still caught off guard and mesmerized by some of the ways he uses to get his point across to us sometime. On a recent trip to the local soul-eating Walmart, I was taught a very significant lesson about the needs of humanity and our obligations as participants in the human race to try to meet some of those needs even when it is not necessarily convenient for us to do so.
For most of my adult life, I have tried to start out every day by asking for God to place someone in my path that needs help. I am embarrassed to say that some days it is easy to see who he sent my way, but on many occasions, I was too self-involved to see who was there for help until it was presented to me more than one time. We are so eager to ask for a purpose, a mission, but sometimes we are hesitant to do so when it shows up. On this particular day, I was having what I like to refer to as “one of the longest days of my life”. I had been running errands all day and the last stop for my to-do list was Walmart. It was the kind of day that even your teeth hurt and all you can think about is stepping back into the comfort and serenity of your home. To be embraced by your sanctuary and to be surrounded by all that is yours.
As is the norm, Walmart was packed. And when I say packed, I mean it was a bumper car parade of silly clowns and band leaders. The cacophony arising from the shopping carts, squeaky shoes, and arguments about butter or margarine was absolutely deafening! I navigated these hostile waters for 2 hours like a sweaty-toothed pirate escaping the British Armada and I was spent. I had given all I had to give and I was a point of abandoning my 130 lb shopping cart and walking into the wilderness. I finally place the last item in the buggy and head for checkout.
As I rounded the towering aisles, I quickly realized that my adventure was far from over. As per company policy, it seems, only about 3 checkout lanes were open for the 1,632 people with me trying to escape this capitalistic pit of iniquity!
As I surveyed the situation and prepared to enter a line with the other sheep at the trough, I picked and decided upon a line and took my place upon the masses. For an unforeseen reason, the line I picked was not moving near the pace of the other lines. I am a firm believer that you DO NOT, under any circumstance, change lines! You made your choice and you need to live with it…lol. So, following my self-imposed rules, I waited and waited and waited as my line barely inched forward to the sweet release of freedom.
Finally, I advanced far enough to begin placing my items on the conveyor belt and I always try to do so in an efficient and practical manner. This particular day, I was picking up some items and supplies to continue with a recent dedication to juicing twice a day and eating a reasonable meal at night to try to regain some of the fervor of my youth and create a healthier existence for my future.
There was nothing in my buggy I felt was too unusual or weird. I had a rather large piece of raw ginger, some various shellfish, a new apple corer, a plastic device to remove fish hooks(I love to fly fish), and some fly fishing poppers. These were the most different looking items but, again, nothing too out there. As I was placing item after item, I noticed my cashier was a young heavy set guy who looked to be enjoying his position about as much as I was enjoying my current role. I smiled and nodded my head as I asked how he was. He said he was good and smiled back.
So, here is where my lesson begins! As the some of the first few items are being scanned, the young man scans an item and begins looking at it quizzically. He says, “What’s this?”. In my near-deranged state, I look up to see him turning my ginger root over and over in his hands. My first instinct is to think, “Is this kid messing with me?!?” So, I pause to gauge his body language and demeanor. Nope, he really wants to know. So I explain it is a ginger root and I’m going to use it in my new juicing plans. He says, “Oh” and places it in a bag of other items and I go back to unloading my buggy.
Now mind you, I’m working at a furious pace to get this done and me back on my way to seclusion and nirvana! A few more items beep down the scanner and again I hear him, “What’s this?”. In my exhausted mental and physical state I’m trying to grasp the reality of this situation and wonder if I’ve slipped into some weird daytime grocery store coma. I slowly look up to see him looking at one of the poppers. Again, I’m unsure if he is serious or messing with me.
As I study him in the blazing fluorescent lighting all of my training and experience says he is genuine and sincere. So, I quickly try to explain that they are artificial bait for fishing and a little about fly fishing. He again accepts my answer and I begin to quickly realize why the particular line I choose is moving at such a snail’s pace. It is at this point of desperation and near surrender that I realize that maybe this is he who I prayed for. Maybe this is my chance to be a small light of kindness and humanity.
Was I so burden with my life and schedule that I couldn’t spare a few minutes talking with a cashier? So, I stopped for a minute and explained more about fly fishing, about how my dad taught me, and he, in turn, recounted his love of fishing and memories of his dad, who had passed away, taking him fishing and the wonderful memories he had of him. I went back to unloading my cart and sure enough about every two or three items I got the, now familiar, inquiry into its origin, use, and name. I found myself taking pride and joy into stopping and giving an extremely thorough explanation of each item’s design, function, and my intended use. I really began to relish this small teaching process and how in some small way it may be making this young man’s day a bit brighter.
As I finished up and paid for my items, he looked me in the eyes and quickly down and away to his cash register and he thanked me for being so nice and talking to him. I told him that it was my pleasure and I loved teaching him about my items. He looked back up with the biggest smile and said I was the best customer he had in weeks. I left with a little lighter step, a renewed soul, and much less fatigued.
So, what are the takeaways from this?
First, shame on me shopping at such a cancer to society and not supporting more locally owned establishments. Quick is not always better! Second, shame on me for feeling frustration at a question from an inquisitive mind. How many others would have been too ashamed or busy to bother trying to expand their knowledge and horizons? And finally, shame on me with not being more grateful for answered prayers. Far too often, we all are not thankful for getting exactly what we ask for. Trust me, talking to this man and answering his questions was much more of a blessing to me than to him in the end. I learned just as much as he did and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I am far too guilty of letting “life” get in the way of me living and of my humanity. This may have seemed silly to some but I just wanted to put it out there in case there was anyone else out there suffering from the disease of a hectic pace and missing the cure found in a simple conversation! Thank you so much if you made it this far…lol I love all of you!
Originally published on Steemit.
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