Don’t Rush Me Lady

Grocery

Half of my groceries are in my cart, but the lady behind me grabs a divider and slams her items on the belt. I squeeze between our carts, silently daring her to move even one inch closer. I’ve just had a pleasant shopping experience, having met smiles around every corner. Why is it that when I get to check-out peoples’ patience and friendliness diminish? I think it has a lot to do with the cash register or maybe some people are just hangry. I wonder how many cases of road rage occur amongst people who just left the store? She replied to the cashier nicely. I probably misinterpreted her, or maybe she was glad I was out of her way.

I’m not slow. I just don’t always move as fast as some people would like. I’m highly aware when people pressure me. Sometimes I answer out of consideration. Sometimes I’m guilty of driving below the speed limit to further irritate tailgaters. Most of the time, I focus on me, remembering the guy in my rearview mirror, swatting his hands at me to go faster, is not going to pay my speeding ticket.

I arrive at the gas station to the pump closest to the exit. I’ll be in and out in a jiffy. My gas pump clicks off, the truck at the pump in front of me pulls away, and a woman waits in her car behind me, but I’m not finished cleaning my windows. Lady, just pull around. There’s plenty of room. She just sat there, staring at me. I heard my parents’ words from long ago: Always move out of the way when you’re finished at the pump. How inconvenient. Still, I hopped in and pulled up, a decision that probably cost me six more minutes than I previously planned. Something told me I needed to change my attitude. I glanced back. She was still sitting in her car, smiling now. Oh, she’s an older lady. Okay, God, forgive me. I headed over to my passenger-side windshield, mostly out of embarrassment.

Then she emerged from between our cars, bracing half her weight against a cane. Immediately, I regretted my previous thoughts. They sizzled in my mind like a cracked egg on a hot skillet. I let them scorch. I wanted to throw them away. “I just want to tell you that was a beautiful thing you did,” she said. “I’m seeing less and less of that in the world these days, and I just want to let you know I appreciate it.” I stuttered “God bless you,” the kind of God bless you that means thank you for being such a fine human being because I feel like such a butt right now. I love receiving these kinds of lessons. They come down upon me like the lady at the store, slamming her case of Coke onto the belt, startling and irritating me initially then forcing me forward, thinking.

I’m not sure why the woman at the gas station didn’t pull around. Maybe it would’ve been too much maneuvering for the pain in her body. She only focused forward, searching for the good that encouraged her to keep moving one foot, then the other. I appreciated her staying behind me because she helped push me forward. It only hurts to move a little faster for people when we, ourselves, employ frustration and impatience. Sometimes it’s better to answer the pressure kindly and get out of the way. And it never hurts to put some gentle pressure on each other either.

 

Transitions

 

 

leave

My husband and I spent the last three years passing by our community on our way to our business in the big city. In November, we relocated closer to home. Since then, we’ve been working on connecting and rebuilding. It’s both revitalizing and taxing—just the way I like it. To feel pressed and stretched alongside my husband assures me we’re living life abundantly and trusting God faithfully. We have a plan and know what we need to do to execute that plan. While it has momentarily taken my focus away from my writing, I stay sane remembering change is necessary for growth and for gaining flexibility to write more. The pressure and excitement that accompany this transition remind me of how far I’ve come since the days of school when during and after breaks, friendships would occasionally change and conflicts flared up. Back then that kind of stuff hit me hard. I’d never see it coming.

One of my most glaring transitional lessons occurred my sophomore year of college over Christmas break. One of my roommates called me and told me my suitemate, Katie, had failed out and moved out. I was shocked. I had no idea she was anywhere near failing out. She struggled in stats, but who didn’t? It was one of the hardest classes. Katie was one of my best friends. Why hadn’t she told me? Why didn’t she call me? She couldn’t leave now.

After Katie moved out, she wouldn’t return my calls, e-mails or messages. I was upset and hurt. I’m sure the whole thing was embarrassing for her, but why did our friendship have to go down the stinker too? Eventually, her mom and I connected. I told her I should’ve been more concerned. I should’ve taken better care of Katie. Before break, she had been dating six different guys. Sometimes she stayed out all night. We wouldn’t know her whereabouts, and none of us could reach her. I cared about her safety. I should’ve addressed my concern earlier. However, Katie wasn’t in a place to accept help. The only sense I would eventually make from her abrupt discontinuation of our friendship was that, on top of her embarrassment, she resented me for airing my concerns to her mother. I never heard from Katie again.

That transition was painful and confusing. It was the kind of lesson that prepared me to respond better to the challenges I may or may not see coming in business, relationships, and life. It helped me see that sometimes things change for no apparent reason, that we cannot control others’ actions, only our reactions. And sometimes things must change for apparent reasons and it’s our responsibility to make those changes. It is when we accept transitioning that we begin to gain a clearer understanding of where we’re meant to be and what we’re meant to do in this world.

This year, our business is taking off. We will meet new personalities and continue to help people in the ways God has called us. We cannot prepare for everything, but we’re as prepared as we can be. No matter what this new endeavor brings our way, with time, we will expand our perspective and write new stories that further connect our path of past transitions.