Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shame on Me

I was in a hurry this morning at the supermarket. At the deli counter, I was next but a lady at the end said that it was her turn. I made a snide remark about line-jumpers, and if it was that important to her, so be it. She was more respectful than I was, but she was still waited on before me.

For a few minutes, I stewed and steamed, thinking of all the things I could say in return. She came up to me and apologized. She had seen a fellow standing near me, who was being waited on, and assumed we were together.

I felt very ashamed of my actions. She made a natural mistake. I could have been more understanding and gracious. We began talking, about back East, where we were from (she from Chicago and I from Philly and NJ), the fact that she was now Christian but had been raised Jewish, and the fact that I have always been Christian but had spent so much time with Jewish folks, in jobs and neighborhoods in Philly and New Jersey, that I knew more Yiddish than most of my friends.

We began to laugh and remember different Yiddish terms. She was alone now, having lost her husband not long ago. We talked about the products in one of the aisles we had both been in at the same time, and about how things stop being stocked just when we get used to finding them in a particular market.

By the time we went our separate ways, we were almost friends. I wouldn't be surprised if she looked for me next Sunday over there, around 10 am. I know I will probably try to time my trip for the same timeframe. She said that her day had begun on a wrong note and that meeting me had made her day and cheered her.

That remark embarrassed me. I know that, if she had not approached me first, I might have continued on my way, still fussing and fuming, and I would have missed a chance to have a nice chat with someone I'd like to know better.

Lord, forgive my rudeness, resentment, and irritability; help me to be more loving, more like this woman I met this morning; thank you for placing her on my path and bless her abundantly for the lesson she does not know she taught me.

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