I've got a column next Satuday, the 18th, and I don't have a column topic. I'm uptight about the block, but not this angry. This picture has to do with the story below, the one in italics.
A lot of times when I get stuck, if I walk outside, I get inspired. It was beautiful in Hoosierland today--clear skies, slight breeze, 67*. I took my little dog out for what may be her last long walk of the season. She stopped about every fifteen feet to check her "pee-mail." Apparently, she had a lot of messages in her inbox. Everyone in passing cars looks and points at her, and seems to say to the other person in the car, "Is that a dog?" She is so little she wears a guinea pig harness, not a leash.
The sun was so bright on the last leg of our 1/10 of a mile sojourn that I had my eyes half-shut most of the way home. But then I decided to see how long I could actually look at the sun. It was a torturous game, but fun. (Did I mention I'm actually 44 and not 4?) I was listening to "Open the Eyes of my Heart," and it inspired me to think of God's glory--how strong light, or maybe energy, emanates from one Being. I remembered how small our sun is and got goose bumps thinking of what the light and glory from the living God must be like. How will we ever survive being in his presence?
I have a rough draft for the column, but I'm not happy with it. It's nothing special. Here it is:
I’m thankful I don’t work in retail. Just knowing that “Black Friday,” one of the busiest shopping days of the year, is next week makes me want to hole up in my den and wait for spring. Or at least Christmas Eve.
Last year, I was in a check out line when a couple ahead of me began raising their voices at the cashier. No matter how politely she replied, they met her with nastiness and profanity. I was becoming more offended by the second and was just about to come to her defense when they tromped away. She was clearly shaken and embarrassed. I offered some kind words, but I could tell they didn’t comfort her much.
She explained that the reason she withstood their rant was because a few years earlier, her husband, a convenience store employee, had not been as compliant with an angry customer, and the customer shot and killed him. Then she told about moving back to Muncie and learning to live on her own. I was stunned.
The couple hadn’t seen the cashier as a person but as an object that wasn’t moving quickly enough or some such complaint. They had no idea how they were traumatizing her.
Since then, when I go through her line, I make sure to smile and be kind. She doesn’t remember me, but I remember her.
Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit Jesus spoke of in his Sermon on the Mount. And Proverbs 12:25 reminds us that "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." (NIV)
When you shop next week (and you know you will) even if your feet hurt, or you’re hungry, or tired, or financially depleted, be kind to sales associates. They’re doing the best they can in the holiday “theatre of war.” And for the sake of everyone in the active combat zone, make sure ALL of your items have price tags!
I also thought about writing about depression during the holidays. Another option is something I posted in September called "Perspective" that I could tweak. I'm just not feelin' this column yet. Anyone have any ideas?