For a few days now I’ve been pondering over a few quick moments.They don’t make sense to me and have caused me some pain as I replay them in my head and heart. I’m still left wondering what, if anything, I should have done differently.
While running a few errands early in the week, I stopped at a grocery store in an attempt to remember the items on my list, which was still hanging on the refrigerator. As I was in the baking aisle a man who appeared to be retirement age responded to whom I presume was his wife in a loud and angry voice. She had asked if it was almonds he was seeking and he abruptly retorted that NO he did not need almonds, he was looking for walnuts. I cannot give credence to the strange feeling it was to hear a man yelling at this woman, who had asked what seemed an innocent question in such a gentle manner, in this very public place. He was walking a few paces ahead of her. It was uncomfortable to me, yet it seemed as if it was commonplace for the two of them.
As I left the aisle in pursuit of more items, I shook my head a little wondering what their lives were like. I will admit, I was more concerned with the woman and was hurting for her and how she was treated in that moment. The man was yelling. He was yelling at her in the grocery store. He was yelling about walnuts. I realize I don’t know “the whole story” or much of anything about these people, but I was bothered. Sadly, it seemed a real depiction of their lives.
Upon leaving another aisle, heading toward the checkout, this couple came towards me. The man was again a few steps ahead. He yelled in a manner that seemed so unnecessary to see if she had found everything she needed. It was a harsh tone. It was a tone that made me think that whatever response she gave, it would not be well received. The woman gently replied that she was not finished. In that moment, I touched her arm to cause her to pause and told her I wished her a Merry Christmas. I tried to offer a gentle smile and she thanked me and looked back toward the man.
I sat in my car after checking out pondering what I should do. I prayed. I shed a couple of tears. I made my way home. I’m still wondering what, if anything, I should have done.
Why? There were no answers to satisfy my question. There was nothing that in my mind would condone such treatment.
There are many things that could be considered as I ponder these moments and as I write in an effort to sort them out. I don’t think there’s a way to make sense of them. I’m not looking to find a psychological profile or sociological definition to make sense of this. Perhaps there is something I should have done differently. I’m certainly not looking for a pat on the back for my brief interaction. Goodness NO!
There is a whole lot of hurt in this world. Much of it is beyond our grasp and in truth, much of it doesn’t really touch our lives. But, I do understand pain, disappointment, anger and such. I have experienced these feelings and emotions. I’m sure I have been a source of these feelings in other’s lives. (for that I am sorry)
I continue to think of these two people. I wonder what is going through the woman’s mind. At moments I have a bit of compassion towards the man. I’m still working on my heart towards him. I wonder about their stories and what all is involved in their pain. It was clear to me they are both carrying a great deal of hurt and pain.
I have no great insight about these people.
I know I am working toward not dwelling on my own hurts and disappointments and pains. Without a doubt, physical pains have been a real reminder of self, but I am still working on the not dwelling on self bit. I hope a lot of things improve as far as the physical reminders of chemo go. The past month has brought some unexpected joint pains that have presented a few challenges. It is hard not to focus on self when pain is ever present. This is written not for sympathy. I am sorting things out. This is my processing in continuum. I know I am still working through the emotional and mental reminders of cancer. These are pains as well.
Seeing this couple, both who are in pain, was a reminder once again of a world outside of my own pain. My pain is lessening and I am receiving help. I am resting well and working to regain strength. I am more active all of the time. I feel I have a focus and support. I have HOPE. It’s okay. This couple…I’m just not sure.
As I have been thinking of them, I think they need more than “a little Christmas” as the contemporary Christmas song says. They need more than just hauling out the holly and the candles in the window.
Faith disclaimer (like you couldn’t see that coming) I don’t want to offend…I’m sharing from my heart, based on what I believe to be true.
Christmas is a wonderful time (most of the time) and I hope this couple does in fact have a wonderful Christmas. But along with a little kindness and more than “a little Christmas”, they need hope. Perhaps they do know the reason for my hope. Perhaps they do know Jesus. I won’t sermonize, at least that’s not my intent. I just hurt for them and wish for them to know there is more to this life than pain, anger and hurting. I wish for them to have HOPE.
I still don’t know what I would do differently. I still wonder.
My encouragement to myself and to others is:
- try a little kindness
- take advantage of a season of giving
- offer a smile, even when you are in pain
- be aware of others
- move beyond yourself
This is a starting list for me. ( I won’t even touch the Christmas list topic — that was another time, another place 🙂 )