Monday, 29 March 2010

Finding Grace in a Hurried World

When the woman in front of me at the supermarket check-out line offers to let me go first, I glance at her and then at her trolley. I am carrying a basket with at least 10 items, but hers is not a lot more than mine, maybe 20 - 25 small items, mostly filled with green vegetables. And considering the 2 women in front of us who have their trolleys full of groceries and one of whom is paying with credit card - which means more delays; I cannot understand why she let me to go first.

Thus, I politely decline, "It is okay. You do not have a lot of groceries yourself". I regret the moment I say it. Since stepping into the supermarket, I race from aisle to aisle, picking things into my basket, choosing the fastest queue based on a complex calculations of number of people in the queue, how full are their trolleys and whether the cashiers are aware of what they are doing or just daydreaming. The reason I do not go to the fast lanes is because they have more than 8 persons in the queues in each lines. I swear my heart beat faster than normal on that day.

I do not expect I have second chance, but surprisingly, I do. She offers me again - "You sure you do not want to go first?" she asked. This time, I take the time to look at her carefully. I guess she is in her forties, but she looks very vibrant. She is of medium height and slim build. She wears jean and white blouse with simple floral pattern - I think she manages to look both casual and elegant at the same time. She makes me feel the warmth in my heart- she is not only nice, but genuinely and persistently nice - a gracefulness that is uncommon in this world where everything has to be fast, convenient and self-adsorbed.

This time, I take her offer, grateful for her angelic gesture. As I finish packing the last items to the bag and it is now her turn to unload her things, she smiles as she conveys, "Cannot let others go first again or else I will never have my turn". She looks over the woman behind her to make her point, who is also carrying a basket of items. I smile back at her understandingly. She makes another impression on me for even giving another thought to the woman behind her after she has just let me go first and the fact that she admits freely - things she is not proud of.

I find her grace to be motivating - remind me not to always hurried through things and forget to think about other people beside me. And also, not to forget to act in kindness to people, including those closest to me and even strangers - who may just happen to be behind me in the line.


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