Because of my vocation I have to carry a sense of modicum in all situations. No matter if a store clerk is rude, or the postal clerk operates with the speed of Cecil B. Turtle, I must be a beacon of warmth and patience. Today while entering the grocery store, a couple stood in my way of getting a grocery cart (buggy). Strapping their child into the buggy, the process became long and laborious. Out of the corner of his eye, the father of the child saw me. Despite knowing I was patiently waiting, he and the Mrs. continued taking up access to all three rows of grocery carts. No word or acknowledging word was uttered my way. I waited and waited, they took out their grocery list and carried on their conversation acting oblivious to my hulking presence. Several times I saw him glancing at me but he would quickly avert eye contact and continue to talk with his significant other as they made their grocery plans.
What seemed like ten minutes but probably not more than 4 minutes, I couldn’t help but think of my appointments yet to be met. The couple then inexplicably continued on their way with nary an apology or comment. I asked myself, “what is it with people and their lack of manners today?”
As I strolled the aisles getting my few items I came upon a teenager and mother shopping. His name should have been Snoop Droopy Drawers. As I studied the teen leaning over his buggy, my eyes were drawn to his faded blue and green boxer shorts. The band of his shorts oddly resting a full foot below the band of his boxers; his backside prominently on display. I giggled to myself what his response might be, if I had the bravery to stand in front of him the same way he was dressed? He’d probably toss his cookies, which is what I wanted to do at that time.
As I picked up my few items and went to check out, there were three check-out cashiers ready. As I walked past a dawdling older woman still shopping and meandering, she suddenly burst forth with the energy of a cannon ball being fired. Like a race car driver careening to the finish line, she sprinted ahead of me, cut off my path, and landed in my aisle just ahead of me. Despite my irritation, I almost applauded. I mean that sprint should have left her winded and wheezing like an asthmatic horse.
I hope it made her day, because it really looked silly to the rest of us shoppers. I waited while she looked for her wallet, tried to use outdated coupons, and had difficulty using the credit card machine. On top of all this, I think she bought her hearing aid battery from a Flea Market. She was as deaf as a haddock.
My 20 minutes in the store today is a microcosm of a Pastor’s life. I smile because God is always testing His servants with the most obnoxious, unloving, uncaring, cave dwellers. And yet, despite our earth being liberally sprinkled with such abrasive bumpkins, I must mirror His example of kindness, love, and mercy.
My next vacation I am going to do what the Good Lord did; I think I will spend it in the wilderness. While I do believe he spent most of his time in prayer, I can’t help but think some of it was spent screaming in frustration at the top of His lungs, “These 12 disciples are the best men we could find?”