A few weeks ago I went to Costco. On a Sunday. At 11:30 am. Yes, I see my mistake here, especially after driving around the crowded parking lot for 10 minutes trying to find a spot that wouldn’t require me to pull out my walking shoes. (Ha, kidding, I don’t own walking shoes.) But I was in a good mood and ready to handle the crowds so I could grab a few things.
Well, the place was a zoo, like, even zoo-ier than normal. (I was reminded quickly of my brilliant idea to suggest a ‘sample lane’ for those who wanted to snack and linger and a FAST PASS lane for those who didn’t. Great idea isn’t it?!) But as I bumped carts and grabbed my items, I was amused watching the chaos go on around me.
And so, with my 5-6 items, I headed to the checkout, where it appears that on this particular Sunday, Costco was attempting to compete with Black Friday lines. After glancing at lines 10+ people deep, I picked my lane and got ready to wait.
It was clear there was an issue with the registers on all the lanes. The beeping and error messages were ringing loudly and the people around me were getting exasperated. I putzed on my phone, determined to wait this out. (After all, organic eggs and a lifetime supply of cottage cheese can’t be purchased anywhere, ha.) I started to eavesdrop on the conversation behind me. It was a dad with his two daughters, likely about 7 and 4. The youngest daughter was nestled in the cart half asleep, while the older daughter gabbed away.
Daughter: Hey dad, guess what?
Daughter: I love you
Dad: I love you too.
Daughter: Let’s play the armpit game.
Giggling, squeals, I got bumped. (I did look behind me to see what this game entailed. It appeared to be her raising her arms as he would try to sneak his hands under them in order to lift her up before she could put them back down. It was cute.)
A few minutes passed.
Daughter: Ugh, this is taking forever.
Dad: It sure is taking longer than we expected isn’t it? What a good time to practice our patience!
Daughter: Well, I have been really patient Dad.
Dad: I know you have, you’re doing a great job. It looks like it’s going to be a little bit longer but that’s okay. There’s nothing we can do about it, is there?
Daughter: We could tell them to get some more registers and then maybe it would go faster.
Dad: That’s a great idea, we could tell them that. But how would we want to say it?
Daughter: In a nice voice.
Dad: You’re right. I am sure that the people who are working right now are feeling really tired because they are so busy. But when we leave, if you feel like it still, you could make a suggestion to them.
Daughter: (pause) They probably already thought of that idea.
Dad: Sometimes there is nothing that we can do to fix things and so we just have to be patient, huh? We can make a suggestion if we say it nicely, but sometimes the suggestion doesn’t fix things right away. So then we just have to wait, knowing it’s out of our control.
Daughter: (longer pause) We will get there eventually.
Dad: Exactly. I’m really proud of you for waiting calmly. Let’s just focus on having a fun time in line, okay?
Daughter: Okay! Let’s play the arm pit game!
And just like that, the moment was over and the arm pit game began again. We all went back to waiting and I wish I could tell you the line picked up. (It probably took about 45 minutes) But the conversation between that dad and daughter has stuck with me.
Sometimes we have to wait. Situations are out of control and there is nothing we can do to fix it. Those are the times when it’s really easy to whine, complain, make irritated comments and melt down. But that dad reminded me that sometimes all we can do is stay patient.
I wish I would have turned to that dad and told him thank you and also complimented the way he patiently and lovingly parented his daughters. It would have been really easy for him to let out exasperated sighs and spout off less-than-kind comments to the workers. But instead, he used it to teach his kids (and me) the importance of waiting things out, simply because we can’t do anything else, understanding that we will eventually “get there”.
Galatians 6:9 says it so well – “So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.”
My encouragement to you today dear friend, is don’t give up. I am preaching this to myself today too. Let’s not tire of being patient, of doing good, of monitoring our attitude and continue to push on. We will reap a harvest when God’s timing is perfect. His Word is reliable and so we strive on, we push forward, we practice patience and we trust Him to come through for us. He will, I know He will.
To the dad in that Costco line, thank you.
PS – I am incredibly behind on comment replies and email correspondence. The embarrassment of being so behind has kept me offline for too many days now and I am SO sorry. I am finishing up a few exciting projects and wrapping up a work contract and then have BIG goals to get back to you. Please know I read every comment, email and pray for you often, even if my typed replies are lacking. It means NOTHING about my deeply grateful heart! XO!