The other day, I went out grocery shopping with my mother and daughter.
I'm sure I don't have to say this, as we are all experiencing it collectively, but I will say it anyway:
Being out in public sucks. A lot.
I don't think I will ever get used to the mask wearing and fear of 'the other'. It's a scary world we live in right now. May the Lord be with us during this time and I pray that better days are around the corner.
But, alas, it is a feat we must take on at times.
We shopped around the store and after picking up what we needed, we went to cash out. There was only one person in front of me at the cash register, so I began to unload all my items onto the conveyer belt.
The man in front of me finished paying for his items and began to pack them into the grocery bags left out for him by the cashier. He looked as though he were close to my age (maybe 30 years old), had a well groomed beard, and was wearing a tracksuit.
As he was packing, the cashier began to scan my items. This was a big grocery haul for me, so it took the cashier about five minutes to finish scanning everything.
After those five minutes, I looked over and noticed the man was still there, packing up his items very slowly. He wasn't even halfway done. I wouldn't be able to pack up my items until he was done with his.
Sigh. Okay, I'll wait.
A few more minutes passed, and he still wasn't done. He didn't have many items, so I began to get frustrated.
Why was he taking so long? Does he not see me? Does he not see I have a stroller with a baby, and that there is a line forming behind me?
I tuned into my thoughts and took note of my judgements, and they weren't nice. I immediately thought he was being ignorant and that he was taking so long to pack up on purpose.
'I should say something to him, give him a piece of my mind,' I thought to myself.
And I was about to.
I took a deep breathe, ready to speak, and precisely at that very moment, the man loaded his last bag into his cart, and picked up his cane.
Yup, you heard me. He had a cane.
All along, I had made a judgement based on his age and how this man presented himself, only to find that, this entire process was, in fact, a struggle for him. I watched as he slowly walked away, struggling to move one foot in front of the other.
Oh, Lord, please forgive me.
My hot headedness blinds me.
What I felt in that moment, was embarrassment, but also heartbreak. I think that God used that moment to humble me and make me think about how I react to others in certain situations.
Later that evening, as I was thinking about it a little more, I realized that even if this man was fully able-bodied, we are all, collectively, having a difficult experience in the face of the pandemic. For some, simply leaving their home could be a struggle.
And so, what we really need right now, is a little more patience, a little more understanding, and a little more love.
I asked our Blessed Mother to help me be more like her that evening. I am sharp and opinionated, but time and time again, God shows me that there are moments where I need to allow for grace to occur. I am beginning to think though, that He wants me to allow for those 'moments' all the time and make grace towards others my way of life.
How can God act through me if I build a wall of judgement?
My new 'rule of life' is to always take a deep breathe and count to ten before I make a haste judgement. And in those ten seconds, ask Christ to help me see the situation as He does.