Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday


Here is a little background on my idea so that you will not think I'm being a goody-two-shoes. At first glance, it may not seem like a typical WFMW, but it is very practical. Perhaps it's something you do all the time without any prompting, but I thought I'd mention it anyway because it's so timely.

Background: Monday afternoon, I was shopping with my girl in Kohls. It wasn't very crowded even for this time of year. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my daughter look a little odd, and the next thing I knew, someone had her hand in the middle of my back and literally pushed me out of the way, saying "Excuse me" in a very sharp tone. This lady didn't shove me; she put her hand flat on my back and moved me with one sort of long motion. She literally moved my body. It was one of the strangest things a total stranger has ever said or done to me. I was dumbfounded.

My daughter said she saw it coming because the woman stood there a second, then widened her eyes to show impatience with my blocking her, and then she reached out and pushed me. My daughter didn't know what to think, either. The really odd part was that the store on Monday at 2:30 pm was not crowded at all. She just wanted me moved.

First I was angry, and then I was embarrassed, and then my feelings were hurt. Then I just tried to forget about it and make excuses for her in my head, such as, "She doesn't know she's an idiot." No, I corrected myself, "Maybe she has had it up to here with shopping and couldn't take one more side step out of the shortest path to where she was going."

So a while later, while my girl was trying on clothes, I sat in the chair in the fitting room, and since it was quiet, I kept trying to figure out that scene and fight the urge for revenge. I took my hurt feelings to the Lord.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I "thought," "Why don't you, instead of mulling over revenge, think of something positive to do. Bless someone." [The "perp" was long gone, so I couldn't bless her.]

I looked up and noticed what a horrible, terrible, very bad mess that fitting room was. And so I began to straighten it up. I gathered all the jeans, hung the dresses, zipped zippers, buttoned buttons, etc. I took piles out of the fitting rooms and hung them on the rack just outside for unwanted items. I picked up trash and water bottles. The more I worked, the better I felt. When we finished, I had all but one stall picked up. I knew it was going to make a sales associate happy to see that someone cared enough to at least make an effort to cooperate during this crazy holiday season. (Can you tell I've worked retail?)

The point is: This worked for me. It helped me beat the blues. It changed my perspective because I focused on someone else besides myself or the person who hurt me. It allowed me to give without spending money or taking any credit. It helped me not to feel stupid and in the way. It made me happy. It worked for me.

So my tip is: When you're out shopping this week and next week, if (when) you notice a mess, maybe you could take a second to fix it up a bit. And maybe it will work for you the way it did for me.

Thanks to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

17 comments:

Roxanne said...

I don't know if people say "bless your heart" in INdiana. IN the south it is a term of great endearment. . .it's what we say when we think someone has done something wonderful despite having a hard time of it. . .or when someone goes out of the way to do something that took some time and effort. . .or when someone is just having a bad go of it.

So, allow me to say, from the DEEP SOUTH. . .nearly falling off into the Gulf of Mexico here. . .

Well, bless your heart. You are a keeper for sure.

Michelle said...

What a simple idea, and what a wonderful one! I am sure everyone who works in those stores, who is not assured a job after the holidays, and even those who will have one, would appreciate it!

I will follow your example. It might be just the simple miracle someone else needs.

Johanna said...

Well, bless your heart, that was so nice, and I totally identify with this experience- I was shocked one year how often I was shoved despite the baby strapped to my chest, and I remember one horrible day that I snapped at one woman(he was 5 weeks old!) and decided immediately afterward that "I am not going to be THAT person", that I would not engage in the rudeness and ugliness. And no matter what happens(of course, not EVERY time, I'm not perfect) I always feel so much better being nice, because darn it all,I LIKE BEING NICE.(Most of the time-sometimes I want to shoot little not deadly but inconvenient poison darts at some people).You made some salespeople's day, and they went home feeling like someone cared. And the pushy perp didn't get the confrontation they may have wanted.Good for you, you stayed true to yourself, and gave your daughter a great example to follow.Oh, I dropped my blogging abstinence idea, and have a turkey/dog clip, so come on over-not trying to plug myself-PETA will be here any second.

Linda said...

You guys are too sweet. Roxanne, you made me smile because my girlfriends and I have a joke that if you begin a story with "Now, bless her heart," what's coming next is surely bad, as in gossip. We Northerners are kinda cold literally and figuratively, I guess. No, I'm kidding. It's the Heartland, after all. But thank you for blessing me. I hope I didn't sound like I wanted praise for this. But you are sweet. Bless all your hearts!

Jerri Phillips said...

I love this. You took "fight evil with good" to a wondrously practical and powerful level, and your daughter won't forget it.

Keep standing on your hill and shining your light, girlfriend!

Merrie said...

What a great idea! I'm sure that the people who work at Kohl's were able to go home a little earlier and less stressed because you blessed them... and yes, bless YOUR heart for blessing them. I know Jesus was smiling.
You are an inspiration and a reminder of how we should be.

marina said...

Linda, what a greate example for us, I would of wanted to say something back to her like" why are you being so rude??" but you are right and you did the right thing,you prayed and God listen and you herd his reapply you did something Jesus would of done repay with kindness.How bless is that!!marina

Barbara H. said...

What a wonderful response -- I'll have to ask the Lord to help me remember it when "crunch" time comes and I'm wanting to exact revenge or feel hurt. "Overcome evil with good."

I worked in retail, too -- I know a cleaned-up spot is a blessing!!

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

Dinah Soar said...

I like the way you think! You extended grace.

A few years ago, when I'd finally understood that the concept of "gracious living" (which was so important in past days) was directly connected to the concept of God's grace to us, I decided to each day (when I was out and about) do a "good deed"...as a tangible, visible way to show my appreciation to God for His grace to me and my way of extending that grace to others...often it's nothing more than straighening up the shopping carts at the grocery store when I return mine, or actually pushing my own cart all the way into the cart corral or allowing somebody with fewer groceries than I have or who is obviously on their lunch break and short on time, to go ahead of me in the check out line. I know I feel good and it blesses someone else.

I'm not earning brownie points with God---salvation is by grace through faith. Just trying to go the second mile with my neighbors...

I thank God for you and your love for Him...just as while we were yet sinners He died for us, you, while you were yet disgruntled, behaved in a loving manner extending grace to others.

God bless you!

Lois E. Lane said...

Little stories like this are so encouraging. Not only does it remind us that little things make a big difference, but that doing something for others takes us out of the "bitter barn" in no time flat. God bless!

Robin said...

What a great example t all of us. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope I remember it the next time I feel offended - you handled it very well.

JoAnn said...

Thanks. I needed your story.

Faith said...

What a great idea! Bless you!
As for me...my tongue probably would have sent the woman reeling and then I would have had to confess to the Lord for my angry outburst....what a positive wonderful example you were to your daughter and anyone who may have observed you. Merry Christmas!

samurai said...

What an awesome idea! And you followed through and blessed someone!

\o/

Tammy said...

I love how you turned something negative someone did to you into something positive. I guess that's what the Lord meant by "turning the other cheek"...it's SO hard to do sometimes, but so glad you turned it over to the Lord and in turn, He gave you a positive outlet!
Wonderful story, Linda!

Judy Thomas said...

Our daughter works retail and I can tell you from experience how blessed the clerks at Kohl's felt. I cannot believe the way some people leave dressing rooms??? Ashley tells us horror stories about it. I always wonder how those customers keep their houses if they are that big of slobs in stores! I would never dream of leaving anything I brought into a dressing room there. :::shakes head:::

A Stone Gatherer said...

I love that idea! Remembering others instead of thinking of ourselves. Thanks for sharing.