I almost got into a fight...

Last Saturday I went into the local grocery store and made a conscious decision to encounter people with a friendly face and a caring word. Our church has been addressing social issues that we as Christians need to engage. I've been struck by my need to expand my heart to places where I'm not as comfortable. In an effort to nudge goodness into humanity, I talked to the cashier lady. Instead of saying a simple "hi", I asked her how her day was going. She said, "Fine". Usually I would stop there fumbling around in my wallet for my credit card and looking off into the distance like I was contemplating something profound. Instead, I opened my mouth and what came out next just embarrassed the dickens out of me, "I suppose you meet alot of people in this job." She looked at me like a was a space cadet. I wanted to rephrase the question, but it was too late and I didn't know what I would have said to bail myself out anyhow. She responded with a "Yeah, I guess so." trying not so speak what was probably going through her head, "You think, stupid? I'm a cashier...people come through here all day long...got any other thought provoking comments?" I mumbled something about the rain outside at that point and she seemed to warm up to me a little. I think she felt sorry for me.

As I picked up my bag and wished her a wonderful evening, I saw a man that had attended our church a few times standing over by the fountain drink machines. I dediced to walk out of my way to say hi to him. I talked with him a few weeks earlier and he spilled his horrific story on me after Sunday morning church. I felt like I had invested enough time in him to come up behind him and touch his shoulder with a hearty, "Hey man." Apparently not.

He turned around and with a burst of adrenaline pushed me away. I flew back four or five steps, caught my balance and regained composure. I thought he was joking, so I went back over to him and said, "What's up?" He looked at me and said, "What are you doing?" I responded, "Just wanted to come over and say hi and see how you were doing." He retaliated, "Well you don't do that?" I answered, "Do what?" "Touch someone from behind like that...you could have a knife or a gun or something." I was holding a grocery bag with hamburger buns and crackers...a deadly weapon indeed. I tried to calm him down, but he continued to rip into me. A couple times I saw his fist clench and I felt like he was going to hit me. I eventually said goodbye and went on my way.

My body had that fight or flight thing going on inside. I tried to take church to heart and it about got me into a brawl. Loving people is harder than I thought it would be. Did you know that alot of people are so hurt they don't know how to let people love them? To a guy like me who grew up in relative paradise as a child...this is news to me. You would think everyone would lap up love, epescially those who have recieved very little, but it's not always the case. I learned that at the grocery store.

How do I get myself into these situations. My life is like a freak show. I'm not going to give up loving people...it's the hope of the world we're talking about here.


Anonymous said…
You are true. Loving people is the hardest thing I face. Sometimes it is just easier to not do it...Check that. All the time, it is easier just to not love them...
Daniel Rudd said…
It's about time someone confronted you!

The world would be a better place without all you sneaky shoulder touchers lurking in corners of grocery stores...

...stealthily spreading your germs of good cheer like some kind of dimented ninja-of-kindness!

keep up this foolishness and people could start making eye contact on the sidewalk as they pass each other.

Next thing you know an outbreak of humans treating other humans as if they were divinely signficant!!

Man... if I were in that store --and if you hadn't been amrmed with crackers I would have dropped your Balaams'-KJV-DONKEY like yesterdays republican party!!

miss you guys.

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