I watched as the checkout line I had just chosen to leave
zoomed forward. Only 60 seconds ago I had joined the end of that line and began
doing what I always do – strategically scanning the lines to my immediate right
and left. I’ve got skills; I know it
doesn’t matter how long the line is, what matters is how many items are in the
That’s right – a line may be longer, but who’s got what? If he
only has a watermelon and a bag of chips, he’s going to get to the clerk faster
than the shorter line with the mom of four antsy kids who has a cart overflowing
with diapers, macaroni and cheese, cereal boxes and baby food. It’s all about
supply and demand: when the supplies to be purchased are in abundance, the
demand for me to change lines is essential.
So of course I moved to the line to my right when I saw that
it had more people but fewer items. I then noted who came up and took the spot
I had just vacated. I wanted to see how much faster I made it through my line
than she would hers.
But, oh how I was mistaken. My vacated spot rapidly became
the winning lottery ticket. I watched her cruise on up to the clerk like a kid
on a slip n slide as I stayed stuck in my spot, three carts behind some dude
who couldn’t seem to find his wallet.
I watched Woman In My Spot leave the store and go on her
merry way as I stayed right where I was, humbly leaning my lesson. The grass is
not always greener, Self. You’ve got to bloom where you are planted and not always
think life is better elsewhere.
Or so I thought that was my lesson.
I eventually headed out of the busy store and into the even
busier parking lot. I was no longer rushed. I already lost my little quest to
save time, so I might as well just be leisurely and prioritize not getting hit by
a vehicle over saving a few nanoseconds by hurrying.
After carefully loading my hatchback, I turned around to see
an SUV waiting for my spot. But I had to put my cart away, so I proceeded to push
it past him on his passenger side, only for him to roll down the window and
holler, “Can you hurry it up, lady?!”
Yep, I continued to be humbled. Turns out we’re all
competing in this losing battle to save time.
When I looked into his vehicle, I found not some rude
stranger, but a coworker who I absolutely adored. He was messing with me, and
we both burst out laughing. Once he found a different spot (I still had to put
my cart away), he and his wife came over and we ended up chatting for several
long, wonderful minutes in the glorious sunshine. I know that if I had never
changed lines back in the store, I would’ve been out of the parking lot long before
this friend of mine arrived. Our paths never would have crossed, and we wouldn’t
have been able to encourage one another as we did.
Do you ever feel like God wants you to learn a stern lesson
(don’t always think your line is the slowest one, or rather: that your place in
life is not as good as your neighbor’s), only to find out He wants to redeem
your mistake? What if, instead of getting bent out of shape because your plan
did not go as planned, you opened yourself up to the ways God wants to surprise
you with blessings as things unfold on His timeline?
" … God, who is rich in mercy …" Ephesians 2: 4
"Praise the Lord, my soul,
forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life
from the pit
crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your
desires with good things
that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
Psalm 103: 2-5
Labels: God, lessons, mercy, mistakes, patience