Daily Archives: December 29, 2011
I got carded last night at Trader Joe’s, buying some sparkly for New Year’s. That cashier knew how to perk up the outlook of a down-faced 38-year-old. I had a good laugh with the lady right behind me, who congratulated me on the event. She was friendly and warm and had a Nigerian accent, and I left with a smile on my face.
At the previous store, Costco, I had decided that despite my current state of affairs — a really ugly situation with my ten-year-old son and a neighborhood boy, which has escalated into three families boycotting our family, and which is still not even remotely resolved — that God didn’t intend for me to:
a) walk in shame
b) treat people like crap just because I’m feeling badly.
When I go on my weekly marathon grocery shopping trips, where I typically visit 4-6 stores and spend 3-4 hours doing so, I make an intentional effort to be kind to customers and cashiers, to go above and beyond what might be expected of a typical late-night shopper, and to spread the love of Jesus, if only a smile at a time, to those I encounter. This approach almost never fails to have some sort of positive effect on someone, and often results in some really interesting interactions with shoppers and/or store employees. Last week, a cashier at Bashas’, Nina, told me that I was her favorite customer. I laughed, and then she prompted me, “Now, you’re supposed to say, ‘And Nina is my favorite cashier!'” I complied, although, honestly, she’s not. She’s kind of grumpy and gets on my case about often needing assistance to find out-of-stock sale items late at night: “What do you expect? It’s 10:45 at night! We close in 15 minutes. Of course the butcher isn’t here and there’s no one who can help you in meat.” She also makes fun of me for taking so long in the store. I check my list, I check my coupons, I read labels endlessly… I’m sure I take longer than the typical shopper. In spite of this, though, she likes me. 🙂 I think I like her more, for liking me.
Nina thinks I’m amazing for having five children and tells everyone about it — other employees and customers alike. I don’t particularly think that’s a reason for merit, but I’ll take it. She wasn’t there last night, though, to prop up my ego; her son got married on the 27th and she took the whole week off.
Anyway. Back to Costco.
My cashier there was Richard. He’s tall and very thin, and I have often wondered where he purchases his jeans, though I have never mustered up the courage — or would it be cheek? — to ask him. He asked me the standard question about whether I had found all I was looking for. I replied that I had, thank you, and made eye contact with him, smiling. He paused, responded cheerfully, and with what seemed to be an intentionally friendly manner, finished up my order. Not friendly-flirting. Friendly as in, “Wow, you are treating me like a person and I appreciate it.” As I walked away, I marveled at, truly, how little it takes to make someone’s day a little better.
That’s when I resolved to still do my normal, intentionally kind shopping trip, instead of wallowing in the misery of the situation with my son.
Misty Edwards helped me, too. To be honest, I’m not a rabid fan of hers. Those who like her tend to REALLY like her. I’m not like that. I just don’t often enjoy listening to endless Misty-IHOP music; it just doesn’t float my boat, even though I love, love, love worship.* Last night, though, when I got into my hubby’s car to go grocery shopping, he had Fling Wide on, and I let it play, needing some soothing for my sore soul. Track 5 came on, the title track, and I almost fast-forwarded it because I just don’t like the opening lines, “Awake, awake oh north wind, awake, awake oh south wind…” But, I let it play because I love the electric guitar on that song, and I was thinking, “How does the chorus to this song go? I think I remember liking it.” And I did. I do. I hit repeat, really listening to the lyrics the second time through, part of which say, “Come, oh winds of testing…”
“What??” I thought, “I’m not liking winds of testing right now.”
I really do NOT have a “bring it on!” mentality to testing. At all. I don’t like being tested. I don’t know if Misty really does, or if she simply has made peace with the value of being refined by it. In any case, she appears to be further down that path of maturity than I am.
To most of the song, though, I really can yield, singing loudly and with full agreement, “Fling wide the door to my soul/Open up the door to my heart/Have Your way, have Your way…” even though I have to will myself to sing the next few lines about “I won’t be afraid/I’ll embrace the flame” and I’m sure any fly buzzing around the cab of the car would note the lack of conviction in my voice at that point…
I hit repeat on that track about six or seven times before I just resigned myself to the fact that I needed to put the song on a continuous loop-repeat.
Even though I really need to update that 101 Random Things About Me page, #43 is still in full effect: “When I’m upset, I love to go on an errand by myself and BLAST worship music in the truck, singing my guts out.”
*Gross generalization: I find that most IHOP worship tends to be really internally-focused, introspective, “search my heart… I am weak and lowly…” kind of worship, and I tend to prefer songs that focus directly on Jesus and His character and ability, and/or a little more transcendent worship/rejoicing in who He is… Hard to explain. Not trying to pick any fights with anyone, just trying to explain where my worshiper’s heart is at, and it typically doesn’t beat in quite the same place that Misty Edwards, et al, seem to beat.