The woman in front of me at Safeway turned and said, “I’m so sorry to be holding everyone up. This is really embarrassing.”
She was offering an explanation for why our checkout line was at a standstill. Apparently she tried to pay for her food by check and the computer rejected it. Then she ran her debit card through the reader and was told she was not in the system. Managers were called, computer was checked, those in line waited, and the lady in front of me turned redder with each passing second. She looked like she was on the brink of tears.
I smiled and said, “We’re fine. No hurry. This happens to all of us occasionally.”
I looked to those in line behind me for confirmation. I received a smile from a woman and a nod of the head from the gentleman who was engrossed in a magazine offering fat-free snacks for Super Bowl Sunday. It seemed we all were willing to wait in silent support while the problem was ironed out.
As we waited, I glanced at the line across from us where Powerball tickets were being purchased by the dozens. That line was extremely long. People were grumbling, shifting from one foot to another, and checking watches while their turn to buy a chance at financial freedom grew closer.
The lady in the payment dilemma looked at them and then at me, “Well, some people are definitely in a hurry,” she observed.
“I pray for patience every day,” she told me. “And look what our Lord gives me – an opportunity to be just that.”
“No kidding,” I agreed. “I have often wanted to write a book called, “Love the Book of Life, but the Lab – Not so Much.”
Everyone in line giggled. The clerk came back and corrected the computer error. The lady heading the line collected her bags and turned to thank those of us who had quietly awaited our turns. We all wished her a good day.
As I drove home, I reflected on my fellow customer’s words about asking for something and then being disturbed by the answer to the request or maybe not being able to recognize the answer when it was delivered. I couldn’t help marveling at God’s grace that day as He did grant patience to her but also blanketed it over those she felt she was holding up. Not only did He give her patience to respond kindly to the clerk and store management, He granted calm for those of us waiting for the situation to be resolved.
I asked myself how often I extend my petitions (especially for more patience) to include those I may encounter on my life journey. I asked God for a heart to see where He showers grace into daily situations for folks in general, and presence of mind to be grateful at His lavish generosity. I wondered what my world would look like if I, indeed, asked God to make all humankind more Christ-like, be thrilled when I see that, but remain steadfast to my conviction to reflect Him in all things no matter what the circumstances.
I really think I could have sat at the red light on Wadsworth and 38th Avenue for days thinking about this topic, but the green arrow for a left turn came on in an effort to move us along. I waited in my God-given state of serenity for the car ahead of me to turn. When the driver did not immediately go forward, I was startled out of my peaceful bliss by a long, loud blast from a truck behind me.
I sighed, “About this patience thing, Lord….”
Copyright January, 2016
Laura L. Padgett
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