I was standing in the check-out line at the grocery store with a full cart. On that particular day, I was actually not in a hurry for a change. Usually I’m in a rush to be somewhere, have just run in to get something I need, or have squeezed in a pocket of time to shop before going on to the next thing. I actually had time to peruse the candy bar section as I waited in line and seriously think about buying a Snickers Bar to treat myself.
A woman gets in line behind me with only two or three items. I could sense she was in a hurry and knew it would be a long wait behind me. So I made eye contact, smiled, and told her to go on ahead of me. She was most appreciative and scooted ahead. Then, to my surprise, the woman behind her also had just a few items!
“Do the right thing Susan,” so again, I smiled and told the next woman in line to go on ahead of me also.
It was obvious both women were relieved to get past me. As they were maneuvering past my cart, thanking me again, I said to them, “Just pass it on and be kind to the people in line!” The minute the words came out of my mouth, they echoed in my head. Yes, that’s what I need to always remember to do and I liked the little catchy rhyme of the words.
It’s not always about letting someone go ahead of you as you stand in line. It’s about the choice you make to be patient, be pleasant, be considerate, smile, or perhaps offer to help in some small way. It’s saying thank you to the person who is there to serve or help you when you finally reach the front of the line. It’s occasionally “paying it forward” in the drive-through line at Starbucks, or letting a car go ahead of you in a long line of traffic when they need to get in the other lane. It’s to “remember your manners,” as my mother would always say.
We have the opportunity, and the choice, to “be kind to the people in line” a lot.
Think of all the lines you stand and wait in at one time or another. Shopping lines, theatre lines, fast-food lines, bathroom lines, ticket lines, voting lines, lines to get in, or lines to get out, and the list goes on. Think of all the people you can touch with unexpected kindness simply by being in line. Think of the difference you can make in someone’s day – or in someone’s life – who just happens to be in line behind or in front of you. Your kindness could change the course of their day, their attitude, or even lift their spirits.
Along with the added stress of the holidays coming, lines will be longer and people will be on overload and hurried.
What if you and I intentionally slowed down and went out of our way to express some form of kindness to others?
It just might strengthen a fragile heart, or bring hope and encouragement to someone who desperately needs it.
But most of all, you will reflect the light of Jesus to someone who needs to feel His unconditional love during a very hard and difficult year.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14