Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Lesson Learned at Meijer

A few weeks ago, on the day of Isaiah’s birthday party, he and I went into Meijer to pick up his birthday cake and some balloons. We were on our way home from church and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet nor had Isaiah had his afternoon nap. The plan was to get the stuff and get out so we could get home quickly, get the kids fed, and get them to bed in time for a good nap before the party!

{Well}, it took forever to find someone to blow up balloons, the cake took a while to get, and when we finally went to check out there were only {three!} checkout lanes open! Each lane already had about 6-7 people in line so we had no choice but to take our place in line and wait it out.

As you can imagine, it was a long wait for a barely three year old boy who was hungry and {very} ready for a nap. He was also over stimulated and excited because it was his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese that night and it’s all he could think about. Also, because I thought this was just going to be a quick trip, I failed to grab a cart. So, not only did I have my hands full with a cake, balloons, and candles, but I also didn’t have a cart for Isaiah to sit and wait in.

Needless to say he was a bit restless in line. He wasn’t naughty, he was just antsy, waving his balloons all around, trying to add every candy within reach to the conveyor belt, and, (completely unintentionally) occasionally running into the old lady standing in line in front of us.

The old lady wasn’t amused and kept giving Isaiah dirty looks. I tried to keep him away from her as much as possible but we were so cramped in line because there were so few lanes open. Everyone was getting annoyed at the wait. Eventually the lady turned around and said something to me that was so faint I couldn’t quite hear it so I smiled and said, “what?” Then she said loud enough for everyone in line to hear, “He’s VERY annoying” and gave me an evil look. I was speechless! I’m not very good about thinking up rude comebacks on the spot (probably a good quality??) so I said nothing. I just picked up Zai and backed up as far as I could in line. I did say, when Isaiah asked me, “what that lady say, Mama?” that she was just a very mean old lady and we needed to stay away from her.  I know, probably not the best thing to say to my son.
Thankfully, the lady was next in line and she was soon checking out and soon after that we were able to check out too and make it to the car where Isaiah passed out even before we even left the parking lot. But I kept replaying the incident in my mind and the more I thought about it the angrier I got. I kept thinking of comebacks that I should have said. My favorite one being, “Did you happen to go to church this morning? Because you are exactly the type of person who needs Jesus.” Haha. Oh my, am I glad that one did not come out of my mouth. Thank you, Lord, for sparing me! =)

On the way home, I thought about how that old lady had no idea what Isaiah was going through. She didn’t know that he was a tired and hungry boy who was overly excited about his birthday. She had no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding his behavior. She just saw his balloon waving and loud excited chatter about cake and parties and occasional bump into her as super annoying. And for a while I was angry that she had said something so rude when she didn’t even know the whole story.

But now that a few weeks have gone by and I’ve had time to think about the incident a little more, I have actually developed a compassion for that old woman. Not only did she not know the circumstances surrounding Isaiah’s behavior but I didn’t/don’t know the circumstances surrounding her behavior. I have no idea what she was going through that day, or that month, or that year that caused her to be low on patience and quick to say an unkind word. True, {maybe} she’s just a grumpy old woman who hates kids. But I’d rather give her the benefit of the doubt.

The whole experience reminded me how important it is to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes before judging their actions. We don’t always know what is going on in their lives that is causing them to appear rude, mean, distant, aloof, sad or confrontational. Not that circumstances are an excuse to behave however we want, but sometimes the worst of circumstances can get to even the best of people and cause them to act in ways they usually never would.
Let’s aim to be people who have compassion and understanding as our first reaction when people say or do things that hurt or offend us. Let’s remember that we don’t always know the whole story and that if we did we may have a different view of the situation!

“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?”

James 4: 11-12

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...