“If you’re where you should be, you’ll meet whom you need to meet.” -Bono
I am, perhaps, the most impatient soul ever made. I was in line at Aldi’s. Admittedly, I go there because I am addicted to their red pepper hummus and grain free pretzels. If I’m really having a bad day, I go there simply to leave my cart for someone else. The donation of the quarter seems to soothe my troubles somehow.
I am ready to leave and have to choose between one of two lines. Now it’s decision time - we all have been there - does this cashier look fast? How many items do these people have in their carts? And then, sheer gut check, you pick a lane. Sometimes it’s a winner, other times not.
Today I got in the slow lane. It also was the lane with the $4 roses so that was a win. But I’m standing there thinking, “Self, you would be out of here already if you went in the other lane.”
There is an older woman a couple of people in front of me and there is an issue with the popcorn tin she is trying to buy. It is holiday themed, covered in dogs wearing Christmas gear. More thoughts to self. “So this is the hold up, ok. I’ll deal with it.”
The woman in between me and this lady is next at the register. She notices an item on the belt that isn’t hers.
“Must be hers,” the man at the register says, gesturing to the lady with the dog tin.
“I wonder if she wants it,” says the lady in front of me.
Impatient me is thinking, "Yes she wants it. She put it in her cart after all."
Cue John Quinones and “What would you do?” I think, “It's a can of condensed milk, maybe it’s 49 cents. I would just buy it. Give it to the lady and call it a day. “
But I watch silently. The lady has gone to swap her popcorn tin with the dogs which must've had a ding in it so she is not there to consult.
The man at the register says, “If she wants it, just give it to her so she doesn’t have to wait in line again. I have enough change in my pocket to cover it.”
I smile. Not what I would do, but I approve of this solution all the same.
I know that today, while I’m impatiently waiting to check out with my groceries, people are pulling the plug on their loved ones, people are getting in car accidents, people are getting laid off and still others are moving their elderly parents to a home.
For some reason knowing that this man wants to buy the elderly lady her condensed milk, makes me feel better. Much like the quarter donated through leaving my cart, this small act is enough to restore me. People really are mostly good. And I know this is why I picked the slow lane.
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.