Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Cashier...My Friend

 

Everyone has things in life that kind of bug them. Then there are the things that really annoy them. Then there are things that make them have to close their eyes, fake smile, go to that happy place and wait for time to cover over the war zone happening in their mind. For me, that place is in the grocery store line. All of the interesting tabloid stories, scents of Juicy Fruit and and elevator music cannot soothe the time urgent beast in me at that time.

Heading to that inevitable torture chamber with my cart full and overflowing is always a gamble. A stressful, life altering gamble. Which line do I pick? That question could change your life forever. It seems 9 times out of 10, I pick the wrong one and end up cracking open the survival kit of stress balls, breathing techniques and scripture verses. So, I pick a line based on years of observation and research: how many people in the line. How many items each one has. How many children distracting the buyer and most importantly...speed and efficiency of the cashier. Cashiers. Unaware of how they control my life for that precious half hour of my day. I have to confess, every time, the frustration I experience watching mine, scan soup cans in virtual slow motion while talking to the customer about the nice weather she is missing. My blood boils vigorously (still fake smiling) as I watch customers in the lanes to my right and left...unchosen, fluid happy lanes...slide through the exit. 

It's the only time I really pay attention to numbers. Making certain notice of my competitors on either side. The ones I would be directly behind if I had chosen their line. I count each one as they leave. One or even two can be reasonably accepted, but as three, four and five pass me, I hold back the eye rolls and sighs. Fake smile.I start shifting my weight...I can't leave my grocery cart full. I can't skip over to the better line with the PhD cashier...or can I? Another gamble. Stress level increases. My kids start to notice as I am not clearly answering their questions. They begin to assess the situation too. I fake smile at them and rub their undisturbed heads. No need for them to suffer too. 

No, if I skip to the better line I'd be behind my present place and God only knows that someone would need a price check and the temporary, beautiful flow would stop...just to teach me a lesson. It happened the other day at Tim Horton's. Two in front of me...10 went through beside me...I skipped over to that line and got through even before the people I was behind in the dreaded line! Sometimes the gamble pays off, so you have to think carefully over these things. The kids ask again about buying gum and I finally notice one of them almost through an entire Archie comic book that they shouldn't read unless buying. Good kids, breaking me of my selfish thought process. I regain my composure, abandon the casino I think I am in and accept fate. I am stuck. Live life in the line I chose. Stop looking around at my neighbors who look like they are better off. Refuse negativity, regret and pity parties. Stop counting. Stay away from Casinos. Look at what good is around me and wait patiently on my bored cashier who wants to be my friend. At least she wraps meat well and doesn't put it in the bag with the Romaine.

Sometimes grocery store line experiences are full of life lessons that really can make a difference.




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Church in a Circle

 

Fear...adrenaline...prayerful...relief...concern...faintness...exhaustion...wonder.

That was the roller coaster of  emotion I experienced on  Oct 21.

Being typical rural Maritimers, we heat our home with stuff of New Brunswick. Thick, scented cozy wood. Lumbermen have been in my family for generations. My ancestors ran lumber mills.  My dad manages his own woodlot...for fun. My 18 year old son has worked at a lumber mill for 4 summers. My husband gets out  there every Autumn to fall trees, cut and stack them for a warm NB winter. It's in the blood and contagious.

I can hear the loader at the local lumber mill my son works at humming during the hot summer days as I work my garden or coffee break in my hammock. It is my call to prayer. Anyone working with power saws needs constant prayer. Four summers of mercy and grace in the area of power saw injuries. I never pray that much when my husband goes to the woods. I guess I should have.

One brief second of a chainsaw with a mind of it's own has dictated the course of our lives for the coming year. My husband didn't lose much blood, his leg or his life, but he has lost control over his schedule for awhile and physical wellness. Surgeries, therapy and hard work are predicted. God has prepared him for this. He spoke to him through His Word shortly before the incident which  gave him much peace in the woods. He provided us with the vehicle we would need for the numerous hospital runs he'll have to make and the people...oh my...the people.

In ministry, you often deal with people on the giving end...it's what the job is. Never have we, in our lives experienced as much love, help and commitment than in the past two weeks. I have so many muffins, soup and fruit in the hospital refrigerator, I might get kicked out of the kitchen soon. My kids have a dozen or more welcoming homes to stay in while I'm with Guy. Visitors and well wishers by the droves surrounding us in a protective, strong circle. This is the family of God. People who would give practically anything to make our lives easier and our minds rest. You don't fully realize the power of God's love in His children until your back is against a wall...or your leg is half off...sorry for the crude, but literal analogy :)

That's what it is. Not the "stuff" necessarily that they provide, although it is needed, but the assurance and peace that we are taken care of. That no matter what we need, physical or spiritual, it will be provided, by hook or by crook, by these relentless, resourceful, compassionate, lovers of Jesus and...unbelievably so...us. We lack nothing. Never feel alone. Watch the hand of God love powerfully. Awesome.

It's not humanitarian. It's Goditarian. Followers of Christ do these things. He broke the trail of self sacrifice and empathy. Many people are nice and willing to give, but to give till it hurts...without end...to people you may not even like very much...that takes Jesus.

It's true that under the pressure of a trial is usually when you see the power of God best and His closeness...His love...His hope.

To Him and to all who have given in some way...thank you...God bless you...and may I be there for you someday with arms wide open.