I was standing in the long line at the grocery store, annoyed yet not surprised by the many people with carts full of goodies for Christmas parties and dinners. It is, after all, the week before Christmas. Others, however, were not so gracious and understanding despite the goodness of others.
Seeing that the man behind me in line only had a few items, I allowed him to go ahead of me. He thanked me and took his place in line. At that point in time, the cashier was having trouble with the conveyor belt. She pushed the button to make it advance, but it seemed to be stuck. She tried again, but the thing refused to move. She looked a bit panicked and embarrassed, then noticed that one of the separator bars (you know the little beams that you place between your order and those before and behind you) had inched its way forward just enough to cause the conveyor to bind. She slid it to the side, and immediately, the conveyor surged forward. The guy in front of me turned and snickered, saying sarcastically, "Yeah, duh. If you move the thing, it will go." Then he proceeded to use the Lord's name in vain and looked up at me to smile. I'm not sure exactly what he saw on my face, but from the way he frowned then turned back around, I'm guessing it wasn't pleasant. In fact, I was disgusted. Here, I had just shown him grace, and he turned right around and gave someone else a hard time. What's up with that?
At this point, I noticed an elderly gentleman behind me, clutching a pack of paper towels. "If that's all you have," I said, "you can go ahead of me." He smiled, thanked me and moved ahead of me in line, leaving another elderly couple in my wake. The man behind me leaned in, looking for one of the separator bars so that he could begin loading his groceries onto the conveyor. I walked forward, grabbed one of the bars near the front of the line and placed it behind my groceries. You'll never believe what he said to me. "Well, isn't she just being lazy, keeping all those things up there instead of sending them back here like she's supposed to." I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and frankly, I had had enough. I turned to him and said, as kindly as I could, "I believe it just got stuck up there. After all, as you can see, it is quite busy in here." He harrumphed and turned around. Oh, bah humbug to you too!
By the time I finally reached the register, I wasn't feeling very cheery. Yet, that still, small voice inside me whispered to me, urging me to chat with the cashier. "Has it been this busy all week," I asked, "or did I just pick a bad time?" She looked up at me with weary eyes. "I don't know. This is my first day." Oh, the poor thing! I thought back over the complaints in my line and wondered how many she had already heard that day. "Well, I want you to know that I think you're doing a fabulous job." She smiled and beamed. "Seriously, I would have already run out of the store crying by now." That did it! She laughed out loud, and suddenly, the weariness in her eyes was gone. I wished her a good day and a merry Christmas and left the store feeling that I had done my part to spread a little good cheer despite the Ebenezer Scrooges around me.
Today's post is a bit of a rant, request and warning all in one. Please don't be too quick to judge someone. I can't help but wonder if either of those men would have made the remarks they did if they had known that today was the poor girl's first day. Perhaps, they would have, but I doubt it. Let's give a little grace, show a little mercy and watch our attitudes. After all, bad attitudes are just as contagious as the flu and far more serious. This is the season of love, so let's pass the love along instead of jumping up and down on our high horse.
Be gone, badittude!
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. - Romans 2:1