I’m not one of those people who believes the world’s going to hell in a hand basket but if there’s one thing that’s different about now, than before is how people act based on their advertising. The woman who fortified my trust in humanity and my religion, Christianity, seemed straight out of central casting from a black and white movie in the 1940s. Her show of kindness and follow through on how she presented herself were so spectacular, it taught me a lot about myself.
Other than my job, house, and gym the place I spend most of my time is the grocery store. My wife and I maintain an equal partnership and one of my duties to keep the family dynamic strong is hitting the local market three to four times a week.
With a new bed delivered, moving out the old one, renting a truck and helping my wife putting everything together my day was already overwhelming. I had my list all 2015’d, in a note on my phone. I stumbled into the store knowing I’d forget something, because it’s what I do.
Attention defective as I am, I still people watch. The older woman who moseyed behind me as I checked out was small in stature, impeccably dressed in a gray dress, her white and black hair as close to a bouffant as this era would allow. She was at least my parents’ age, mid sixties, and proud to be so.
I counted my items, checked my phone, and realized I’d forgotten the penne pasta, the key ingredient for what my wife was making. Sensing my demise, I sighed, apologized to the clerk, and turned to the lady. That’s when I noticed the silver cross around her neck and the religious symbols on her coupon book.
“Ma’am, I’m so very sorry. I forgot something, do you….”
Before I could finish, she smiled, revealing a crooked toothed grin, and replied.
“Honey, me waiting a few minutes is nothing compared to the trouble you’ll get into if you go home without whatever you forgot. Just, go.”
I’ve been struggling with my Faith, not in my belief that Jesus Christ died for my sins and I need to live my life according to his teachings, seeking salvation at each turn, but my Faith in others, especially fellow “Christians”. Being a lefty or progressive Christian who makes part of his living writing online has been trying the past few years. Politics aside, because they don’t pertain here, I’ve watched my fellow believers disappoint and anger me, mostly with how they treat others. I’ve found myself more short-tempered, increasingly cynical, and losing hope that those who profess one thing about themselves rarely reveal it to be true.
I ran to the pasta aisle, snatched a box then showed some sweat when I jogged back to the lady, the teenaged boy clerk, and the rest of my order. She smiled again and remarked.
“We barely knew you were gone.”
Fluorescent light caught her cross and I was frozen for a few seconds at how perfect the moment became. I paid and thanked the woman for her profound kindness.
The times are rare that people who present themselves a certain way deliver on their promise, but when it happens, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait for it to happen again, because that’s what I’m praying every day. I hope I can follow her example.