Saturday, May 3, 2008

More things I know about Bitter/sweet...

Today something happened for the third time and it truly disturbed me. It reopened my thoughts about what might be "bitter/sweet. I was at the store, buying more than I went in there for as usual. My arms were as loaded as they could be and I was balancing a few things to get them to the cashiers counter. Hmmm, perhaps I should tell you about the incident 3 weeks ago first. I was in the checkout lane of our local grocery store.One counter over I could hear the just barely audible sound of a little elderly lady talking to the cashier. She was explaining that she thought she had more money with her but that she had made a mistake. There was Chicken and veggies still left to be paid for or put back. She and her very elderly husband talked amongst each other quietly but I got the drift of it all. They were deciding what they could survive without so they knew what to put back. I turned to the cashier and handed her a 10.00 and told her to bag it all. She asked if I was sure and I nodded. The couple looked at me and asked me too wait for them. My things were checked through and so I nodded and then said quietly "Have a wonderful day and thank you for the blessing." I left before they could catch up to me and never looked back. The incident was forgotten until the same thing happened a week later with a woman I have seen taking cans out of the dumpsters to turn in for cash. I helped her out a bit and then gave her a large bag of pop cans I was going to turn in that day to the recycling station. Again a quiet thank you was said and we parted ways. the incidents were pretty much forgotten until today.
I was in our local Dollar General Store, picking up as I said earlier more than I went in for. How many times have you gone in to get "1" thing and suddenly wished you had a cart? I do it all the time as I did today. When I reached the checkout lane there was a line of people. I was three people back and could not hear the reason why the line was so long. I could see an elderly lady, obviously with sight problems as well as hearing trouble. The cashier stood waiting for what I was later to find out was the manager. The lady with the grocery's sitting on the counter strained to see things in front of her. She had a walker that she used to get around. I want you so badly to be able to see the woman I saw. This was a woman that could have used a helping hand just to get around. As the people in front of me stood and obviously got irritated with the wait I saw the manger show up. The cashier explained that the lady had only 34.00 and that her groceries came to 44.00 She had waited for the lady to choose what would go back on the shelf but she could no longer wait as she had customers waiting.
Now I was looking at what was sitting on the counter waiting to be voided from the total so that the ladies money would be enough. The items were a package of Bologna,Cheese, a loaf of bread, pizza rolls and Dawn dish soap. As I looked at these items and watched the manager getting ready to void the items, I stepped forward. I of course spilled most of my own groceries onto the floor. A kind young woman helped place them on the corner of the counter. I thanked her and then, leaning across the counter I placed a 20.00 on the counter. I told the cashier to bag it all up and she said "are you sure?" Of course I was sure. When the lady saw she had full bags, she asked why. The cashier said "this man paid for them for you" and pointed at me. I hate that as I did not want her to feel as if she owed me anything.
The lady looked at me and said "I don't even know your name? Who are you?" I simply said it was ok and she could take her things home now. She came over and took my hand and said "I want to know your name. I owe you 10.00, sir" I told her it was unimportant and that she owed me nothing. She looked at me and touched my hand once more. She left and the cashier said "That was different." ANDDDDDDD it hit me right there!She didn't see it as Kind. She didn't see it as someone reaching out to help another person. She saw it as "different!" There were 15 people in that store. No one could have stepped forward and helped this lady? They would rather stand in a line and whine about waiting than to have 4 or 5 get together and add a buck each and let her have her few groceries? What people are we that we cant reach out to an elderly woman and help her eat? Are we that small or that distrustful that we think she may be fooling us, as some of them whispered. My response to that was "Well if she is fooling then it is only me that would be out. And if that's the case, then I did what I felt was right and that's all that really matters." No one said a word after that.
I guess I walked away with two feelings again. That "Bitter/sweet" feeling that I was so blessed to be there to help this lady. God knew someone would be there to help her when she went in. And that bitter feeling of what kind of a people really live in this world? Was I born in the wrong time? Will we one day truly be a people that loves one another and assures that not ONE single person... man, woman or child ever goes without or has to be embarrassed by what they do NOT have? I wonder if it is but a place I only imagine. I hope not because if so, then what are we fighting all the time to save here? Just my thoughts...

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