After finally finding a parking spot adjacent to Krogers I enter the grocery store to find no available shopping carts. I turn around, return to the parking lot, and find one in the metal shopping cart carrels. My annoyance and impatience are beginning to grow.
I find a cart with a cranky wheel which causes me trouble as I try to push it back into the store while clutching my grocery list written on recycled paper and my reusable bags. As I follow my mental store map I notice just how very busy the store is with many people maneuvering carts filled with groceries. Feeling irritated, I begin to focus on my breathing: in deeply, out deeply, in deeply, out deeply. I move slowly through the store unable to quickly navigate at my usual pace and any remaining patience I had is now gone.
At last, I push my cart into a check-out line behind someone with a full cart, so full I can’t load my groceries onto the conveyor belt yet. The woman, appearing unkempt, asks the cashier several questions which slows the process. And with each question, the cashier gives the woman her full attention, patiently and graciously answering the woman’s questions.
Meanwhile, I am tapping my foot, feeling peevish toward both of them.
The cashier turns toward customer service to ask a question and the woman turns to me, smiles, and says, “Sorry for taking so long. I don’t know how to use the new WIC cards. Before I moved away we had paper coupons and now that I am back, I have to learn the new cards.” She sheepishly smiles at me.
Lying, I tightly smile and say, “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
Then the cashier returns and they continue checking out.
As I wait, an inner voice says, “June Mears, you speak and write about compassion for the poor yet when a poor woman slows you down, you lack compassion and mercy.”
I immediately see my Self and repent.
As the woman leaves she apologizes again and I truthfully and heartfully smile at her and say, “It’s no problem. I hope you have a good day.”
As I reach the cashier, I thank her for her kindness and patience with the woman. The cashier responds, “Well, it’s hard for people to learn to use the WIC cards and they need them to feed their families.”
“Well, you were very generous with her and thank you,” I say.
She slightly shrugged as she swipes my groceries over the scanner. “Well, it’s super busy when the accounts are refilled and folks buy their groceries.”
“I thought it was busier than usual,” I say.
As I wait for her to finish I gaze at the loving face of God as seen in the face of the Kroger cashier. I find God at Krogers.
“Love and mercy are sovereign, if often in disguise as ordinary people.”