I saw a picture the other day with a quote on it that really made me think. It stated…“Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” How true and profound these few words can or may be in everyday life situations.
I was at Safeway the other night after a LONG TEN hour day at work and of course I would pick the night that EVERYONE was there. I also—like my sister Mary does when she goes shopping—ended up with the old broken down cart with the wobbly wheel and a “thump, thump, thump” as I pushed the cart down the aisles. And to enhance this experience that night, it appeared as everyone’s child was acting up and crying while the parents sat idly by and let this behavior transpire. Even the employees of the store appeared tired, worn out and were a bit curt.
As I came around to the drink/chip aisle I could see that there was an obstacle about halfway down the aisle…it was a woman, a cart and four kids. When I reached that obstacle and after waiting for a bit—thinking this woman would notice I needed to get by and move for me— I asked the woman, “Can you please move to the side so I can get by?” I must admit that I was taken back by her response.
“You are just going to have to wait your turn,” she replied.
Have you ever experienced that look before? You know the one. The one that if looks could kill you would be six feet under! Well as I gave this "look of death" to the woman who so graciously verbalized her opinion, I then proceeded to pick up her cart, moved it to the side and then walked by my "obstacle" and continued to finish my shopping.
As I approached the front of the store to pay for the items I had placed in my cart, I noticed that the lines were REALLY long. I thought to myself that this is going to be a “test of my patience” and to “breathe deeply.”
After about a twenty minute wait, I was finally able to reach the part of the checkout stand where you place the items from your cart onto the moving conveyer belt so they can then be scanned and paid for. The cashier was an elderly gentleman in his early sixties that had helped me many times before that always had a kind and a polite attitude. Tonight his character was no different..."Thank Goodness." He was like the rose in the middle of the thorn patch or the light in the middle of this storm that appeared to be all around me.
As he began to scan my items, I noticed that there was something not quite right with his actions. He appeared dazed and almost transparent as I looked at him. I also noticed a bit of a twitch to his hands and his body as he was scanning my items. And then it happened…in mid sentence, this man totally froze and literally could not talk or move. As I watched his eyes slowly start to roll towards the back of his head, I realized he might be passing out or may be having a seizure of some kind. Long story short, I quickly ran around the end of the counter and caught this man just before he fell onto the hard floor on which he stood.
Now I’m not telling you this to be a hero or say, “look at me”, but I would like to point out again the simple quote above…“Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Come to find out from the manager of Safeway, this man I caught while falling has had a “few episodes” before with freezing and even convulsing due to an undisclosed disease he has been fighting for a few years now.
And to the woman in the middle of the aisle with the rude comment…Maybe just maybe you are fighting, what feels like, a losing battle with four kids who don’t listen to you or maybe you are in a bad marriage or maybe you just lost your job or...
My point is everyone’s battles are different and maybe if we take the time to look a little deeper, we might be able to help in those situations instead of becoming critics, ignore the situation or look the other way. My self-professed battle…PATIENCE. Of which I am working on and hope to improve greatly in the near future with this experience.
Today is Labor Day and I hope those of you who are working know that you are appreciated and valued for your service. For those of us who are lucky enough to have the day off, be grateful and take time today to recognize a “battle” and help or improve upon that situation to make your or someone else’s day better. Happy Labor Day!
I also want to make a special mention of a birthday that is coming up on the 7th of September. She was the lady that inspired and created this great blog and is dearly missed…MY MOM! She would have been a young 71 years old. She wrote a special tribute at the end of one of her columns to me on my birthday in the Idaho Press Tribune in 2011 that I want to share with you.
“It’s my first son’s birthday today. So of course I spent a few minutes this morning remembering the special little blue-eyed boy who loved to make snowmen himself in the winter. He also liked to ride motorcycles and horses in the summer, and fly kites in the spring. Actually he’d tie his kite to the lawn chair that he’d placed in the sun so he could “get some rays” while he napped.
Doesn’t seem that long ago. But somehow the years passed by without me even noticing. And now there’s a special blue-eyed man who stands in the little boy’s place. … So glad to be a part of it all, Jim!”
And to my Mom I simply will say, “I too am SO glad you were a part of it all! I couldn't have done it without you. I miss the way you always made me feel loved and important through your acts of kindness, your warm embrace, your special homemade Birthday/Christmas cards, all the valuable lessons you taught me and your ability to write so well. Happy Birthday in Heaven! I love and miss you!”