We all go there. It's pretty mundane. Yet the way we interact with people can change the course of our day-- and theirs. There's a lot of opportunity in that.
Last week I was in the checkout line, unloading my cart. The line behind me was getting long and the person in front of me was slowly finishing his transaction. As it became my turn, I realized why things were going slower than usual.
A middle-aged man with a fresh, innocent face was the bagger. It was clear that he had a developmental disability and it was clear this was a new job for him as the cashier directed him to 'pack the fruits together' or 'put the bread on top.' The cashier seemed a little frazzled and apologetic to the customers and I could hear the edge in her voice as she hurried him along...not in a mean way, but moreso in a way that showed she was nervous that we were all annoyed and upset with the sweet man taking his sweet time.
Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones. Or maybe it's just the human connection. But I watched the scene with a flood of compassion unleashing inside. And I knew I wanted to say something to let her know it was okay.
I smiled at the bagger and said, "you're learning from the best. I love the way you guys bag groceries here." It was kind of silly but it was all that came to mind as I smiled at the cashier, trying to reassure her that I didn't mind the delay.
Her whole expression changed from stress to appreciation. She smiled at me and said "You have a really good day, ma'am." Neither one of us said what we were really thinking. But there was a knowing between us, a silent communication between us.
I continued to chat with the bagger as I helped him load my cart. His innocence and friendliness cut my heart as I thought about how often I myself am in such a rush...and how hard it must be for him and others like him to go slow in a world that won't slow down and make room.
The grocery bagger gave me a gift that day along with my purchases...a reminder to slow down and see people. Every moment of life holds beauty...why am I so quick to miss it and rush to the next moment? Many people may have thought him simple and slow, but by God's grace that day I saw that he was the one living with true wisdom and grace -- focusing on the moment, carefully performing his tasks with intentionality, and seeing and engaging the people right in front of him.
I drove home with tears in my eyes, my trunk full of well-packed groceries, and a heart full of gratitude for an unexpected lesson in love.