Every time I open my laptop, I am greeted by this image.
A gentle reminder right in front of me of the gift God might be trying (and failing) to cultivate in me. I know patience is one of the seven fruits of the spirit which Paul presents in Galatians, but it may as well be the forbidden fruit for me. It seems the more I try to be patient the more impatient I become–especially in the grocery store.
Last weekend I went to the store with the intention to practice patience. First, I let a car make a left hand turn in front of me. So far so good, but then the car behind me honked–twice. Then after two sweeps up two rows of parked cars, I finally found a spot. Not the closest, but I’ll get more steps on my Fitbit. Patience AND positive thinking! I helped an elderly gentleman get a cart from the nestled mess of metal then I followed him into the store, one shuffling step at a time. But it was fine, I wasn’t in a rush.
Inside the store, it was a different story.
I waited for a woman blocking the garlic with her cart, but she wasn’t moving, she was on her phone. I got cut off by man who was on a mission to the deli. I tried to patiently weave my way around children begging for the “good” cereal and on and on. By the time I reached the check out clerk, I stuffed my bags, and readied my cash so I could get OUT OF THERE. I was so stressed out that barley noticed the person behind the grocer apron.
I almost missed her tattoo with a name and date–was that a birth, or a death? I almost didn’t notice her shift legs and stretch her neck. I nearly passed by without looking in her eyes. Nearly. I paused and looked into her eyes and saw a glimpse of the person behind my clerk.
I was so caught up in my own pious practice of patience while simultaneously checking off my list that I almost missed what–who–was right in front of me. I almost missed the face of Christ in one of God’s children. I wonder how many people I have missed because I was in a hurry.
I wonder how many times I have brushed by God and didn’t even know it.