Thirty-Seconds Thursday

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT

We’ve come a long way from home delivery and waiting in line to entering the grocery stores. Like all other ‘milestones,’ we seem to be forgetful of yesterday and move forward at the speed of light.

Last year at the start of the quarantine, I injured my shoulder while placing my cartload of groceries into my car. When I heard that eerie sound that wasn’t familiar to my body, I froze. Yes, nearly dropped that bag of fruit behind my trunk (that Sam’s Club sized bag, I might add). In a panic, I slowly lowered my affected arm and began to silently pray.

“Oh, Lord, not now … please, not now … and not here …”

In hindsight, it seemed as though things were in a foggy sort of place — or at least, I was in a foggy place. Somewhere between numb and no thumb. Not knowing how to feel at times, react, or grasp what I should be aware of. It felt as though I had to exert far more energy to do normal routine things and the things I managed to do in public felt clumsy.

Like going to the grocery store.

Funny how when you’re ‘limited’ in activity, you have the sudden urge to do that specific activity. Planning to go shopping for basic staples — that may or may not be available at any of your usual local places — anticipating when the lines to enter would be wrapped around the building — seems like script material for a movie. Yet, we lived it.

The unusual silence and somber as you shopped was particularly mystifying. I tried to make eye contact with passersby — the eyes can at least ‘smile.’ But what would occasionally break that silence was the angst and frustration of shoppers aimed towards the workers in the store.

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12 NLT

The cashiers, the stock clerks, the produce folks, the deli workers, the bakery goods associates, the butchers … they all took such a beating from angry patrons over the past year. I’ve never worked in a grocery store, but I have worked in customer service roles. One of your hats is a firefighter’s helmet.

Could this be something that you’re accustomed to witnessing or possibly be guilty of doing?

For all the people we casually refer to as our ‘sounding board,’ ‘listening ear,’ ‘voice of reason’ — they do not exist as emotional punching bags. They have the same Creator GOD that we do. They bleed red just as we do. And they need to be encouraged and motivated for the work they do for the sake of our comfort.

It may not be appropriate to hand them a monetary tip or form of gratuity. But we can extend grace in the form of thanks — takes just a few seconds that could have a lifetime of impact. A realignment with GOD about our attitude — a mere thirty seconds.

“Father GOD, You created us all in Your Image. And you intended for us to relate to one another with respect and honor. Forgive us for when we fall short of acting with gratitude for the least of things. Remind us that Your Son, Jesus, died for each one of us, and it is His Legacy of humility and love that we should be pouring out onto those in our path. Please bless the workers in all places and industries of service. Let them experience more good days than bad. We are so, so grateful for all Your Servants — including those upon whom we leave an impression of You. Because it was You Who placed them in their role of responsibility. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Kindness is free.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

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