I don’t do waiting well. I especially don’t do waiting well if I’m in a grocery store. I start swaying back and forth, huffing indignantly to myself, and criticizing people in my head. (Do you still like me?) And I always pick the worst checkout aisle. It can be an aisle with one person who only has a handful of items, and I’ll choose that one (of course) over the aisle with three people with loaded-down carts, but who ends up in the quicker line? The loaded-down carts group. Something always happens in my lane to slow down the process, whether it’s an item that won’t scan, a coupon that won’t scan, or a check that won’t clear. (Why do people even use checks anymore? They’re such a hassle!) This trip to Wal-Mart was no different; I found a lane that only had one couple in it. Their cart was quite full, but I figured it was the best bet since the other lanes (all 2 that were open) had several people in them. The couple was an elderly couple, and the man was slowly placing his items on the belt (emphasis on slowly). As I watched him pick up one item at a time and debate on where to put it, I started to get antsy. Couldn’t he grab more than one thing at a time? Did he have to be sooo slow? As I was chastising him in my head, he turned around and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, ma’am, I just don’t move like I used to. I hope we’re not too much trouble.” Awww. I immediately smiled and said, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m not in a hurry.” I mainly said that just to be nice, but the thing is, I wasn’t in a hurry. I had no reason to be standing there huffing and puffing and getting all agitated at this sweet old man. What did it matter if I spent 5 more minutes in the grocery store? Why am I always in such a hurry? What am I hurrying to? Time on the Internet? Time in front of the TV? I chided myself and thanked the Lord for this check in my spirit, and I helped him put out the rest of his groceries.
As I left it occurred to me that I hope people will treat me with respect and patience when I’m older and can’t “move” like I do now. I am ashamed at how quickly I grow impatient, how easy it is for me to criticize instead of love, and I am thankful that God showed this to me through a man in a grocery store. I act like my time is such a valuable commodity, and yet I waste a lot of it doing things that aren’t important. May I learn to spend my time in ways that matter to the kingdom of God, in ways that show love and not hate, that build up and don’t tear down.