I admit it. It was the second week of advent and I’d done nothing special. Sure, I read a bit of my little Advent booklet. But, I didn’t exert myself.
It was time. I decided to choose kindness and peace. I figured that wouldn’t be too difficult as I’m not too confrontational.
Well, I made up for missing all those other days of advent in two encounters with an irate businessman in one day. You see, his two employees had told me one thing. Apparently, both of them were in the wrong. Me, too! He let me have it. Yelled at me. Was a bully. Forget about “the customer knows best”. Forget everything the two employees told me, too. He struck a raw nerve in me and I wanted to give it right back to him. That would’ve been the easiest thing to do. React.
I glanced at one of his employees. The one who had told me a totally different story. Shock and terror were on her face. I like to think the shock was from the way I was being treated. I’m pretty sure the terror was from fear I would bring her into the battle.
I paused. I told him,”Well, I must’ve been mistaken. Have a good week-end!” And, I spun on my heels and left the store. To take my business to Canadian Tire!
As I drove, I found it easy to say a prayer for the man’s wife and family. He probably would go home and recant the whole ordeal to them. And, I said a prayer for the man’s employees. I bet they dealt with his moods and anger often.
And, even though I didn’t want to, I asked God to help this man.
And, lo and behold, I found peace. I vowed I would never treat anyone the way he did. In fact, I decided to be just that much kinder to the next couple of people I met. Balance out the universe.
The cashier at Canadian Tire was busy. She apologized. I told her to take her time. I had all day. I didn’t but that wasn’t the point. I was friendly and appreciative of her help.
Next stop was the grocery store. People in the parking lot all smiled at me. Was my kindness “peeking” through? When my shopping was done, I jockeyed for the shortest line, the quickest cashier. Not a very good reward system they have going for them…do your work quickly and you get even more customers!
The grocery store cashier was in her early twenties. Plain and nondescript except that she was balding in the Mohawk area of her scalp. I asked how her day was going. I learned she was almost done her shift and didn’t have to work midnights tonight. She told me she’d just taken on a second job, cleaning at the university. I told her I worked midnights and would think of her tonight, sleeping. We laughed. I called her “a real go-getter!” She informed me she was working two jobs because she had to support two kids. I asked their ages and learned she had a two-year old girl and a four-year old boy. She told me how polite they were, that they were really good kids and how potty training was even going smoothly.
I didn’t see the girl’s plain looks and balding scalp at all. I saw a devoted mother and hard-working soul. A proud Mom. I wished I bought more groceries so I could’ve talked longer.
And, I no longer saw the angry man or heard his piercing words in my mind. My time is limited. I made the choice to spend it on her. There had been no point in engaging with the businessman at that particular moment. Although, I could’ve.
And, my decision to be peaceful to the man plus the kindness to the girl earned me peace. I never thought that out ahead of time. You can’t get buy that peace. Not at Canadian Tire or the grocery store. But, it’s there.
There’s still more days of advent to perfect these actions. I can hardly wait.