Thursday, April 4, 2013

the man i met in line {and what he's got me thinking about}


today i made a quick stop at target on my way home.  

this was a huge accomplishment for me considering the fact that those dollar bins at the door were marked down 70% off and i was sooo tempted to stop and look around for 15 minutes at all the neat stuff that i could buy for 30 cents {and then throw away in two weeks}.  

i demonstrated tremendous willpower by walking right on past the dollar bins and straight to the pharmacy area {where even more sale merchandise beckoned to me from the endcaps with all those bright red little stickers screaming - 'i am such a good deal!'}.

i feel this post turning into a lesson on consumerism and our culture's ridiculous need to buy things even when we don't need them, but this is really not my intention...so...moving on...

i grabbed my bath brush and epsom salt {the newest tools in my arsenal to destroy lucy's eczema} and headed for the check-out.  i was sort of in a hurry and had several other things i needed to get to, so it pleased me greatly to find a lane open with only one other person waiting.

as i approached the register i realized that there was indeed only one person in line in front of me and although he didn't have a lot of items he was an older gentleman and he was pulling out his...get ready for this...checkbook {oh boy...this was a trick...i thought i got the best line but now i've got check-writing old guy ahead of me!}.

i walked up just in time to see him looking around puzzled and asking the cashier if they had giftcards.  for whatever reason  my hurried heart suddenly softened to him.  the cashier looked at the rack of giftcards that was right in front of the man's face and then looked at him like he had 3 heads - they are right here sir.  i could tell he was still struggling so i decided to provide a little assistance.

what's the occasion?
a wedding...i need a gift card for a wedding.
ok - great...here's one that looks perfect for a wedding.
thank you so much.  that is just right.  now how do i know how much it's worth?
{cashier again gives the 'you have 3 heads' look}
well...the great thing is you can put whatever amount on it that you'd like.
wonderful!

i watch as his shaky hand carefully writes out the amount and he passes the check to the cashier.  he turns to me before he goes - thank you for being so helpful.  i smile and tell him it was my pleasure and i hope he has a great day.
later as i get in my car and pull out of the parking lot i wish i'd said more.  i wish i'd asked who was getting married...maybe there was a story there.  maybe it was his grandchild.  maybe his wife is no longer able to get out and perform such tasks as buying wedding gifts for grandchildren.  maybe his wife is no longer around at all.  maybe he lives alone now and doesn't get out much.  maybe i was the only person he would really talk to all day long.

i could be all wrong...i have this terrible tendency to try and guess a person's life story from a 2 minute interaction.  heck...i will guess a person's life story just based on watching them from across the room.

whether i am right or wrong about my check-writing friend, my interaction with him got me thinking...

as much as i sometimes complain about how much work i have to do, how behind i am on laundry, what all i need to do for the kids, how late joey has to work, all the phone calls and emails i need to return...
all those things represent the fullness of my life.

i have work to do, because i have a job i love.
i am behind on laundry, because i have spent time writing and reading and working in my yard.
i have so much to do for the kids because i am a mother...and i have 2 little people to teach and love.
i wish joey could come home earlier, because he is my husband and we just have the best time together.
and all those calls and emails...they represent lots of people who are important to me.

my life is full...and i can't help but think that at some point it could begin to empty of these things...
kids grow up and move away.  people retire from their jobs or they're replaced with some young whipper snappers.  spouses die...so do friends.
one day when my life is quiet and there is an emptiness to my house {and my schedule} i want to be able to look back and know that i embraced the full...that i didn't wish it away or carry it like a heavy burden.  i want to cup my hands around the abundance of all i have been given in this season and gaze at the beauty of full.