At the end of my second trip, I realized that I was in the slow checkout line. Great, I thought. It was already getting late - would I have time to unload and put away all this food and still have a few minutes of leisure time before bed? Perhaps you know how it is in the slow checkout lane. The racing mind, irritation slowly rising inside, doing the exercise of trying to imagine the lives of those in front of you, of the cashier, so that you don't get mad at them for holding you up.
I checked out the People and US headlines. Perused the gum selections. Then I noticed the cart in front of me was being unloaded by two young girls, their father standing near by. I watched. They were buying paper products - cups, plates, napkins. They were worried that they might not have enough money. They used a gift card supplemented by a little cash. They came out with $2 to spare. I guessed they were providing the paper products for a school or community celebration and had either raised money or were on a budget set by someone else.
I noticed that the cashier was taking his time showing them the receipt and how the gift card worked.
Finally, it was my turn. I started unloading and was paying a lot of attention to trying to get everything out of the cart and onto the conveyor belt. Yet the belt wasn't moving. Sigh. Why wasn't the belt moving? Let's go, people!
Finally, I got everything out and moved to the end of the counter to start putting the bagged groceries back in my cart when I realized why the cashier was so "slow." He was carefully selecting what to put in each bag so that it would be full but not too heavy, and the groceries were organized by type so that when I unpacked the bags, I'd have all the items of each type pretty much together.
Advent isn't here yet but I can see that yet again, I going to want to pray for patience. I'm going to want to practice intentionality again. Im going to want to continue to develop the eyes to see God's work in the world around us and to appreciate the people through whom God works. I'm going to want to more regularly come down from my cruising place of 40,000 feet up (where I can see my beloved big picture) to appreciate the details in life, the fine work that unsung people do every day because they care.
So here's to being in the slow line.