Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, I went to our large retail hardware store. When I was in the checkout line, I witnessed a young teenage girl in tears and the adult manager comforting her. She told the girl, “Take a break, go to the bathroom and gather yourself. Remember, people that act like that are usually unhappy with themselves or with something in their own life. Don’t take it personal.”
I was instantly moved to compassion for this young lady. And because I have an innate curiosity, I couldn’t help but inquire. “Is everything okay? Was a customer unkind to her?”
I entered into a conversation with my checkout clerk and this manager. Mostly I just listened. It was as if my questions unleashed a flood within them both.
They went on to share a number of different experiences:
• We get yelled at.
• We get called names and sworn at.
• We have people get right in our face and want to fight us.
• We’ve been spit on.
• We have parents engage in this kind of behavior in front of their children (of all ages).
As if all of this was not enough, they went on to add, “This is a daily experience for us.” A DAILY EXPERIENCE!
I felt their emotion in my heart that night and I feel it just as strongly this morning as I write this.
Just by listening, I was able to validate their experience. I can not honestly imagine enduring that kind of treatment on a daily basis.
I can’t tell you how much this grieves my heart. Does it bother you? I hope it does. I really do. Because our words and actions have an impact on others.
Have you witnessed situations like this?
Have you been on the receiving end of such actions?
Have you been the person to treat others in this manner?
I grew up watching television shows like, “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons”. Both shows took place in eras gone by.
Every episode held messages of love and kindness, helping our neighbors, doing what is right, honesty, integrity…
These shows made a positive impact on my life. I still watch reruns and feel a sense of nostalgia every time.
I can tell you that the experience I had last week is the most polar opposite than those depicted on a weekly basis on those beloved shows.
I can also tell you that I LONG for a return of love and kindness.
I suppose I am writing this more from the need to soothe myself. Because my heart literally hurts when I think of that young high schooler (who by the way was only in her second or third week of training).
I want to ask us all (and I say us all because I am not perfect and will never pretend to be), to return to the Golden Rule.
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
And may we remember the teaching, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Oh if we could just return to functioning in this way. What a different world we would live in.
I know the current culture around the world has created hardships that no one is immune to. But love heals, not hate. Kindness soothes where anger enflames.
I implore us all to think before we speak or act. The old adage, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.”, could not be further from the truth.
So I ask us today to consider:
Oh that we would all choose love. Won’t you choose a simple thank you, a smile, a kind word or simple gesture? And may we remember that we never know what another is going through.
Blessings dear ones,