Bad days. We all have them. But what happens when two bad days collide? Sounds like a prescription for the perfect storm.
That’s what happened to me recently when I made what I thought would be a quick an uneventful trip to the grocery store.
It was one of those mornings. You know the kind. Open the fridge to get some breakfast fixings and the fridge is empty. No problem, I’ll just throw some clothes on and run uptown to the store and grab something. Oh, if life were only that simple
The local grocery store in my small town, while a bit diminutive is a great place. Especially for those in-between shopping days. On this fateful trip, I grabbed a few things and dashed to the checkout line. That’s when it happened.
The cashier rang my purchases up, and I inserted my debit card in the card terminal. Sounds simple enough.
The problem was, I misread the question on the terminal screen and accidentally canceled my entire purchase. The cashier informed me of my sin in a slightly disgusted way.
I apologized and tried to make a joke about the situation but she did not find it amusing and it clearly showed in her body language and expression.
She reset the transaction with a single keystroke and I inserted my card into the chip reader once again. When I looked at the screen this time I thought it said to remove my card so I complied.
The only problem, that is not what it said which resulted in the transaction being canceled again.
How did I know that is what happened? Well, my less than happy cashier told me so in no uncertain terms. Apparently, she believed that I was intentionally trying to ruin her day and make her life miserable.
Now let me give you a little back-story. This isn’t the first time I have found myself in this cashier’s lane and she always has a scowl on her face. But today was by far the worse I had observed. Although I felt bad about making her reset the card reader two times It wasn’t like I was doing it on purpose.
Thoroughly embarrassed, I apologized once again. She was not impressed. And now her body language was even louder than the first time. I couldn’t wait to get this transaction completed and retreat to my car.
Mercifully, at last, I found myself walking out the door. As I made my way to my car, I found myself starting to judge her. I didn’t appreciate her rude treatment. I considered turning around, going back into the store to inform her of that fact. Especially, since I was having also having a bad day.
In fact, my bad day was the reason for my problem with the card terminal. You see, I started to get a migraine while I was shopping. By the time I reached the checkout I was having visual auras. If you suffer from margarine headaches, you know what I mean.
My vision was blurry and I just couldn’t focus my eyes. Therefore, I could not see the screen well enough to read the directions. I tried to guess the right button to push but unfortunately, that didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped.
As I drove out of the parking lot, I contemplated going home and writing a rant about my experience on Facebook. It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit nudged me, interrupting my thoughts. He reminded me to look at her heart. He helped me understand the unhappy look she always wears is a symptom of something deeper.
Perhaps her attitude and actions, although inappropriate, were because of some heartache that I could not imagine.
“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NLT)
As our bad days collided I was glad I listened to the Spirit’s nudge and didn’t respond to her treatment by lashing out at her. Instead, I decided to pray for her and the next time I find myself in her lane I will smile and find something encouraging to say to her.
My pastor often tells us, “When you see as God sees you will do as God says.” I’m starting to understand that and I’m so thankful that He looks at my heart. I want to see God’s heart as I get to know Him more. And I want to learn to see the hearts of people. To see them through His eyes and respond in a way that not only pleases Him but brings Him glory.
I’m discovering that heart gazing turns bad days into opportunities for love and encouragement.
What are some things you can do to remind yourself to look at someone’s heart?
This post first appeared June 20, 2017.