Something for nothing
Some would call it bad luck that I am placed in her line every time I shop in the early morning at the large discount store, but I prefer to call it divine providence because it is always an opportunity to practice the skill of patience.
If she were to have a race with the sloth police clerk in Zootopia, she would lose. Her pace is deliberate and slow, not as a learned skill I believe. I think it is just how she has always done life.
She is plain and unassuming, and her speech cadence is slow and measured. For each item that she scans, her movements mimic that of the sloth, and I notice that every time I’m in her line and someone else comes up, they mostly turn and go to another line probably having experienced her careful deliberate way of checking out groceries before.
But though I feel a modicum of their impatience I deliberately keep myself in her line and engage in conversation, which slows the checkout process even more. Patience is a choice, and being there helps me remember to choose an attitude of abundant time.
There are wonderful things to be learned in the practice of patience and one is that things are not always as they appear. For this gentle,slow soul has a quiet passion for raising money for the Miracle Children’s Network, which is a donation choice when finalizing your grocery purchase.
She shares enthusiastically that when asked by her employer to man a table at the front door to increase donations, she asked, “Would you mind if I dressed up as a clown?” Apparently she has a wealth of clown costumes and proudly declared, “ I even have an Elvis costume. People give more for Elvis.”
The day I worked as a clown I made $100, but the day I dressed up as Elvis, I made $180, and every penny of it went to the Children’s Miracle Network.”
“Maybe I’ll stop by on Saturday,” I said, “and I can see you and your clown costume.”
“Eight a.m.,” she said, “I’ll be there! And it all goes to the Children’s Miracle Network.”
As I drive through the desert on my way home, I think about how often I misjudge the heart of others simply because of some outside appearance or action that doesn’t match my critical expectation.
I believe she does not live in a world of expectations. I think she is just who she is, regardless of circumstance. I think she just loves helping people, especially children, And so there she will be on Saturday, dressed as a clown, passing out free drinks and chips to increase donations, because, as she told me, “ People won’t give you something for nothing.”
But she is wrong.
She gives something for nothing every time I stand in her line. She shows me the insignificance of hurry. She shows me the simple joy of showing up to help others. She lets me soak in her generosity of spirit.
And maybe that’s why it is always worth the long wait in her line.