What are you looking at?

by - May 01, 2012

This morning at Costco, I did the most annoying thing a customer could possibly do by attempting to open a door next to the sample stand to get out a box of yogurt - and happened to knock over an empty travel mug... at least it was the most annoying thing ever based on the look the lady donning the blue apron and hair net and her comment that the sample is ALWAYS in the front, with some other lady making a snide remark that you could even see  that it was in the front, who then craned her neck to demonstrate how by peering through the door I was not supposed to open, you could see there was an access in front. Technically, no I couldn't see that, as I approached the yogurt from the back, and couldn't even tell that was what was on the stand. Pardon me for not knowing sample stand protocol.

It's interesting that snarly looks and comments could send my already overwhelmed self reeling, sputtering curt four and five letter words under my breath. Couldn't they cut me some slack? My boys had been whining all morning, and I'd been running interference between the two, and I just didn't have it in me to dodge the other patrons with their big a-- carts and equally sassy attitudes.

As I got into the Jeep (being fussed at by my two boys) I thought about how maybe I wasn't the first person to knock over her empty mug. Maybe it was empty because someone else had already knocked it over. Maybe when she put on that apron and hair net, she was equally overcome with the same self-loathing I was feeling at that moment as I tried for the nth time to ask my boys to stop licking the handle bar on the shopping cart. Maybe she was tired of being asked pithy questions - just like the well-meaning man who asked if they were selling kids as we waiting in the checkout line as a slew of strangers gawked at my kids as they giggled and pulled each other's hair.

I then tried to think of how God viewed her.

It is so easy to become simultaneously overcome with rage, embarrassment and depression just by a simple look from a stranger. It's almost natural to take those emotions and mentally cut down the offender to a size we can crush, but the thing is, in reacting in this way, we have given them or the situation all the power. I struggle to show people the same grace as Jesus has shown me, even if it is not asked for. It's all I can do. Otherwise, every disapproving look and snarky word would chip away at the person God created me to be until I was nothing but an angry, hurt woman hell-bent on proving my worth and yet completely defined by the judgements of others. We act out and live out who we truly believe ourselves to be. Showing grace isn't just southern charm, it's showing people Jesus.

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