I had an overly sensitive, girl moment in the Costco checkout line the other day. But I don’t think he noticed.
Up until that point, the trip had been a success. Three kids, zero spills, minimal whining, some running but no one knocked anyone or anything over. Overall, a victory.
Until the checkout line.
I’ve done this for years. The person in front of me places their items on the belt. They put down the plastic divider. Then they send their cart on the cart side of the line while they personally move forward on the people side to pay. At which point I place my own items on the available portion of the belt. Seems like a universal procedure.
So the guy in front of me did his part — unloaded his items, put down the plastic divider, parted with his cart, and then moved forward — at which point I took my cue and started to place my own items on the two feet of empty belt.
The cashier asked the man if the items left in his cart were his, to which he replied, loudly and gruff, “Yep. Looks like this lady got over-anxious, huh.” No smile. No joke. Only meanness. Excuse me? You know the checkout line rules.
“Well, sir, you put the divider down so I thought you were finished,” I said. To which he rudely responded, “I wasn’t!”
That’s when the lump blocked my throat. I kept swallowing because I didn’t want him to know that his meanness had messed with me. And I kept blinking because of the embarrassing tears welling in my eyes. I mean, it’s Costco. He’s a stranger. It doesn’t matter.
The cashier stood there shocked, staring with a slightly gnarled lip, giving an eye roll to the guy on my behalf. I mouthed a thank you.
But after my girly, sensitive moment passed, I found myself praying for this unhappy man.
Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow his steps…When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:21-23
I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but “hurt people hurt people”. It’s true. When we don’t deal with our own hurt, it comes out all over those beside us. Even strangers in the grocery checkout. And if a person doesn’t know the One who died to take away all shame, condemnation, fear, and angst, then they learn to live with bottled up pain.
Next time we have a moment where someone treats us mean — once we’ve swallowed that lump in our throats — let’s remember to pray for them. (Luke 6:27-28) If anything, they need the gracious intervention of our awesome God.
Fill me, Lord…
What do you do when someone treats you mean?
What can we remember when others hurt us?