Have you ever been in a line at a store, thinking it was the best/fastest line to get in, only to have the person(s) in front of you not have enough cash, or they have too many items, or their multiple coupons won’t work and managers have to be called for, or their kids are pulling things off the candy rack or cranky? Then, after patiently enduring what seems forever, four other check-out lines miraculously open up, but too late for you to take advantage of?
How do you react?
I caught myself beginning to get irritated. OK, more than irritated. Hard to admit, but in all honesty, people around me could most likely see steam come out of my ears. Luckily, a ‘not so still voice’ within me gave me a gut-check. Oops! This time it was not steam coming out of my ears, but rather red-flushed cheeks that burned like a hot element on a burner turned on high could be seen.
I’ve been that person with the cranky little one, or the one with too many items, or coupons that didn’t work. And yes, I’ve even gotten to the final check out only to discover I’d left my wallet in the car, with a long line of people behind me.
Grace. Do we give it to others often enough? Do we cut ourselves some slack when we know we’ve been the cause of other’s displeasure or really blown it? Are we the bigger person to apologize, or extend grace to the person who has caused our own displeasure? Have we let them know they aren’t the only ones to have ever been in that position? Do we offer a word of encouragement or an offer to help?
As I write, freshly falling snow covers the leafless trees of a colorful Fall season blown away. Empty bare ground, a reminder of our bountiful summer garden, lays white-washed and blanketed with the slowly wafting flakes. I pause. Everything is still. Calm fills the air. The snow has covered a multitude of things now in the past. The season has changed all that was.
As I look out the window, a bald eagle regally sits atop a tree. I watch as it takes flight, soaring higher and higher, to new heights. I’d like to think the eagle is reminding us of new seasons that are being ushered into our lives; a chance to renew ourselves; a chance to soar to even greater heights. As he ascends, it’s a reminder for me to extend grace – even when it might not be deserved, to others, including myself. (Even if I did forget to bring the lawn chairs in before the season changed!)
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.