Aaron went to Wal-Mart for me real quick earlier this evening to grab a few ingredients for our dinner. I was feeling frustrated with my 'wild things' (aka Jack and Cal) by the time he got back and when I started unpacking the bags he'd brought in I started feeling more irritated. He had purchased a few more things than I had asked for which made my job harder. It wasn't much, but for some reason it set me off. I started feeling sorry for myself and taking my frustration out on him. It wasn't fair. (At the time I was saying that to myself in my head, but really it wasn't fair for him.)
I was still moping as dinner was being brought to the table, extra ingredients and all, and I rudely asked him why he had bought a can of spaghetti sauce. We were having grilled cheese and tomato soup. He said he hadn't and when I insisted he had, a disgusted look came over his face. "You have got to be kidding! That idiot checker." I was confused. Then he tells me this story.
While checking out he noticed everything that the elderly lady in front of him was purchasing. One can of spaghetti sauce, a box of noodles, a single bell pepper, and one roll of toilet paper. It couldn't have been more than a $4 purchase. As she was leaving and grabbing her bags she asked the young (uncaring) woman behind the register if it was just one bag and was told yes in reply, without even a glance from the attendant. Well obviously it was more than one bag, because we ended up with the little ladies dinner.
I am seriously heart broken! My guess is she was spending all she had to cook this meal. I might not think that if it weren't for the one roll of toilet paper. Not one package mind you, one roll. Can you imagine having to choose between buying toilet paper and a meal? I so wish I knew who she was. I wish I had a way to find her and hug her and buy her a gift card full of her favorite meals and triple ply toilet paper. I hate that her can of sauce is sitting on my kitchen cabinet. Looking at it fills my heart with angst.
But I'm leaving it there. Not in the pantry where I can't see it. On the counter, front and present. I'm leaving it there for two reasons. One, so that I can pray for her. So that when I look at it I am reminded of her specifically and others like her who save for just one meal. It will sit there so that everyday I am more thankful for all I have and remember to share and care for others much much more. But I'm also leaving it there for a second reason.
The Bible tells us in Colossians 3 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord" The checker that was working in Wal-Mart tonight was obviously not following this command. She did not take pride in her job. She did not take the small amount of time necessary to make sure that others were being cared for. But God does not tell us to work with all our hearts as long as our jobs are not tedious, or monotonous, or boring. He doesn't give us a free pass on days that the boss is extra hard to get along with or when technology doesn't want to cooperate. And he also doesn't let you off the hook when your little hooligans are tearing your house to pieces being super heroes, or beating each other up with video game remotes, or spilling orange soda on your rug, or your big hooligan is buying bacon for his grilled cheese sandwiches and you have to wash all the dishes in the sink so you can clean the only pan you have to cook bacon in, making your super quick and easy dinner idea a much more toilsome endeavor.
Colossians also says, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
So, even if you think what you do is not important and therefore, the spirit in which you do it in doesn't matter, think again. It matters. It matters to the students in your care watching your every reaction. It matters to the boss who is trying to hold it all together by a thread. It matters to the man who is late to work because he got a nail in his tire and is about ready blow a gasket at the next bad thing that happens to him. It matters to the person waiting on the check you are cutting. It matters to the mom that needs just an hour to breath as she gets her nails done. It matters to the husband or wife who loves you and wants to see you smile. It matters to the little lady with just noodles and green bell pepper to eat for dinner. It matters to the wild things growing in mind and spirit next to you. It matters to me. And mostly, it matters to God.