It’s funny what I assume about people with a mere glance as I pass by, interact or stand somewhere observing them. Silently, I make my pronouncements and move on. It takes less then a second or two. Sometimes those lightning bolt conclusions emanate from faulty prescriptions I’ve registered in my mind.
I like the Publix grocery store Pam and I go to. They have nice check out people who ask you, “Did you find everything you needed” and quickly scan your items. There are also people who bag groceries for you, and they will take your stuff out to the car if you want. It’s really nice, especially after spinal fusion surgery. Usually the people who bag your groceries are either bright-eyed high school students working part time, or older gentle people working part time or even full time to subsidize their retirement income. Possibly some have lost their jobs and this is a temporary financial stopgap for them. However, I’ve come to find out, these were a misguided thoughts on my part.There are other reasons as well.
So I’m walking out with Fred (that’s not his real name), we start talking and he tells me he likes this job simply because he misses working with people, but does not want the pressure that comes with most positions. He explained, “This is no pressure, and I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t know I had.” We laughed. I pressed him further on his background and found out that he was Chief of Operations for a large department store chain. He had been in locations all over the US and just retired two years ago. We talked a little longer, then I thanked him for helping me, shook his hand and we parted ways. Sitting in the parking lot, I googled his name, and sure enough…there was his picture and blurb about his retirement from the company, including a few other earlier articles about him. I’m thinking…this guy is bagging my groceries.
I say this because I was deeply shamed, knowing, that for a split second, I had this self important, “I’m glad I’m not you” moment, as he carefully put my eggs and toilet paper in my environmentally friendly cloth grocery bags. I was ashamed of my quiet arrogance, that briefly assigned him a lesser place in my mind. It doesn’t matter that it was a split second…it matters that it was in my head at all. These are lovely people doing honorable work. That I would even allow that haughty thought residence in my brain, quite sickens me.
These are moments where who I really am, come to the surface. You know… those thoughts I think I get away with…. because I suppose no one will ever know. I’m prone to let people see only what I want them to see. …But God knows my heart. That’s why He has to keep chipping away at me…..often painfully …in order to sculpt me into His image.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)