She’s tall. She’s graceful. And she greets everyone who passes by. Few return her smile, most don’t even acknowledge her presence. And you can hardly blame ’em. It’s Christmas Eve, after all, and these supermarket shoppers are trying to get through their last minute shopping. I, however, watch the lady with utter fascination as I wait my turn at the customer service counter.
The woman is likely in her early sixties, a grandma who bagged this seasonal job at the local supermarket. Part time and no benefits. Perhaps she needs the money. Perhaps she likes people. Whatever her reason, it’s better than watching TV and eating holiday cookies. What fascinates me about this woman on this Christmas eve is her Attitude.
Epitome of Grace
This supermarket greeter is not just putting up with a thankless job; she’s loving it. Of course she’s getting paid to be gracious, but that not why she’s graceful. She’s gracious because she wants to be.
Great, but how do I know that?
It’s all in her smiling eyes, silly. It’s in her body language. It’s all over her kind face. Besides, when it comes to grace, you can’t fake it.
I’ll get to enjoy this epitome of grace for a good ten minutes before I get my turn at the customer service. She knows I’m watching her. This makes her somewhat self-conscious, but she remains gracious as ever. Every so often she looks my way and our eyes meet for a fleeting second before she has to turn her attention back to another shopper.
Though not a word is exchanged between us, she’s communicating something with me through her conduct. On this Christmas eve, this supermarket greeter, who I know not from Eve, is reminding me how I should conduct myself in the coming new year—and for the rest of my life.
If her conduct could be put into words, it would be this: “Do what needs to be done, honey and forget about the rest.”
When emotions get in the way of what needs to be done
Sure, a lot of our stress comes from life’s many uncertainties. But a lot of it also comes from KNOWING what the right thing to do is–and failing to do it. Apart from “I don’t feel like doing it, ok?” our unresolved emotions inside keep us from doing what needs to be done at any given moment. Emotions like worry, anxiety, guilt, regret, fear, you name it.
These emotions hijack our mind and we fail to do what needs to be done and get stuck in inaction. What this woman is saying through her conduct is:
“Forget how you feel and simply do what is required of you right now. You can (and should) process your emotions, of course, but do that later. Meanwhile, listen to inner voice. It knows what this moment calls for. It knows what needs to be done right now, this hour, this day, this week.”
So I offer you this advice for the new year (courtesy of the gracious greeter at my local supermarket):
“Do what needs to be done right now, honey and forget about the rest.”
Image Credit: damnfunnypictures.com