Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life Lessons at Walmart

Last week Andy, Elijah and I went to Walmart to get supplies for Elijah's birthday.  In one trip to the store, I learned that I'm not a very good Christian - and that I'm getting less sensitive about the things strangers say about Elijah.

Non-Christian-y Moment ... Ever Have Those?
I was looking at some frosting in the baking aisle when two women came walking down towards us, each with their own carts and subsequently taking up a lot of room.  Turns out I decided I didn't want a particular thing of frosting and needed to wait for these two women to slowly pass by so that I could put it back on the shelf. Andy and Elijah were parked not too far away, but was blocking these women's path - at least in their opinion.

Just as I shimmed my way behind the second woman to put the frosting back on the shelf, she said loudly for Andy to hear, "Are we shopping here or are we just standing around?"

Um, wow.  That was rude.  Now, if you know me, you'd know that I'm not the type to be rude.  I'm usually a really nice gal. But, without missing a beat, I replied, "Actually, I've been trying to get around you and he's waiting for me." And then I hightailed it out of the aisle like the coward I am.

And I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself.  Andy wanted me to repeat what I had said because it was so uncharacteristic of me.  I think he was kind of proud of me too.  I mean, it's good to be nice, but sometimes I'm nice to the point of my own detriment.  I think there is a balance when it comes to niceness.

But, anyway, I decided that although that lady was rude, it was a totally unchristian thing for me to do.  Would I have been proud if Christ had been standing next to me? Nope.  I got the last word, but it was ultimately not a turning the other cheek kind of a response. Unless, of course, you count my hightailing it as turning the other cheek.

Yeah, I didn't think so.  I'm a work in progress, for sure.

Talking to Strangers
Soon, it was time to check out with all of our items.

"Would you like a gift receipt for this?" the woman asked.

"No, I don't think our son will be returning it," I said with a laugh.

Noticing all of the items she was ringing in, the cashier noticed that we must be planning a birthday party.

"Oh, it's somebody's birthday. Let me see, he must be turning one."

She paused and then said "No, he must be two."

"Actually, he's going to be three," I said.

And that was that. I didn't feel the need to further explain Elijah or his age.  I wasn't even bothered by the fact that she thought that our 3-year-old was one. Eh, whatever.  No need to grieve over others perceptions.  It is what it is.

So there you have it, life lessons learned at Walmart. Do you ever have enlightening shopping trips or is that just me?


rc45 said...

Hello Lisa,
I was at camp Pinecrest last week and your post about being a Christian and the example that we set was one of the topics at the Chrstian living session. The one who covered the topic talked about the phrases we often say that show a wrong or uncaring attitude toward others. Both the phrases you mentioned in your post were covered in the Christian Living session. By the way your minister can tell you more about what other phrases were covered on this topic since he was there.
Reggie Warren

Cousin Christina said...

Way to go Lisa! lol Yes, maybe a little rude, but honest. I can't believe how people in general have gotten so hasty and in a hurry lately. I like to think I am usually a nice gal too, but I have been put through this type of test over and over again! It's very hard to keep it all together. You feel like maybe you were a bit of a coward and a bit "un-christian-y", but I wanna guess that those women maybe learned a lesson at Wal-Mart that day as well. God's forgiving, that's why we can ask and move on. Definitely don't beat yourself up over it! Hugs.

Janet said...

It seems to me like you were simply stating a fact and offering some perspective. Maybe it was the way you said it. ;)

Ms. Crabass said...

Oh I think you were doing the woman and everyone who has to live with her on a daily basis, a big favor by enlightening her as to her self-absorbedness. There's nothing wrong with that. You weren't taking an unfair jab, you were simply giving her your point of view. You didn't call her names or speak to her unfairly. You did nothing wrong. I think your response was perfect.

It seems the shopping trips are always a reality check. ...as to how ignorant other people are. And definitely not in a bad way- there's innocent ignorance of course. I certainly never saw a tracheostomy before my boys got theirs.

I know many times people are trying to be kind but are so nervous to converse for the risk of inadvertently insulting us.

I had both my twins with me in the supermarket yesterday, one in the wheelcahir, the other struggling to keep his balance. A woman held the elevator door open for us and said "oh, they're sweet! I used to work with kids like them...and my sister -in-law has a son like them".

I felt more sorry for her because she seemed so nervous, her voice trailing off every time she said "like them" so it was barely audible. But I was also very happy she was so kind. I'm so proud of my boys and they have such a profound story behind them. And it makes my day every time I experience something similar.

...but on the other hand, if the interaction is negative it will ruin my week. But that's just me. And it's not about my boys.

You did the right thing. Backing away would have strengthened her and encouraged her to continue behaving so rudely to others.

Kathy said...

Lisa, You did right. You pointed out a fact - knowing you - with a smile. Well, maybe not:) Maybe these ladies aren't always rude. But they knew they were rude that day - who knows why?

I know you are a special person. (I've known you all your life.) You don't have a mean bone in your body. But we have our moments:)

Elijah is three!!! What a sweetie he is!!

Love you, Mom

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

What is it with Walmart? I never get as many comments or questions regarding Emily anywhere else. She is almost 7, but she looks like a 3 year old. She doesn't talk or walk, she is usually in her wheelchair while we shop. If she's sitting in the shopping cart, it's with one of those fabric covers and she's playing wih baby toys. So ... yeah, she doesn't look like a 7 year old. When people ask how old she is, and I say almost 7 and smile, you can see the confusion. I just continue on my way, and let them wonder. LOL It's no one's business!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, when you're right, your right. It doesn't have anything to do with christianity. (Unlees you we're wrong) :)

Lisa said...

Hey, everybody, thanks so much for the comments!

Counsin Christina, you ARE a nice gal. Thanks for the encouragement. Muah. I so appreciate all of the nice things you always say on this blog. You're the best.

Ms. Crabass- I know what you mean when you said a bad interaction can ruin your week. Sometimes I'm amazed at how nosy strangers are. I don't think they realize how much their comments can hurt.

ANewKindofPerfect- I KNOW! What is the deal with Walmart?! I get the most comments there too.

Janet, I definitely think it was the WAY I said it.

A simple "excuse me" would've been enough. The words weren't necessarily wrong, but my attitude was. I was annoyed that she was so rude and I re-payed her with rudeness. (Granted, in most people's eyes my idea of rudeness is probably nothing of the sort).

I am the type who tends to let people walk all over me, so that's why I was proud of myself for speaking up. It is SO out of character for me, but I think I need to learn how to speak up without letting emotion seep into my reaction. I could've said it so much nicer and still get my point across.

I don't think anyone is a perfect Christian and that we should all strive to me nicer to one another (no matter what our religion is and no matter what the other person has done). And I don't think a "non-Christian-y" moment actually makes me a bad Christian. It just makes me human.

If I had said the same things as I had said, but with a different attitude - with a smile as my mom (Kathy) said, it would've been a fine response.

Overall, I'm not beating myself up over it - and probably would have forgotten about it had I not written about it here. I love the discussion...makes me want to write more about these kinds of topics. Thanks for all of your comments!

Tanya said...

I have gotten a lot of life lessons at walmart myself. some people can be so rude sometimes. I also get the whole age thing with my daughter.... fun times

Christy said...

I use to really dislike going to Walmart because it seemed like I always ran into rude people.
I agree, you weren't being mean or anything, you were just responding to her comment. Much worse could have been said, especially considering she was instigating it..
actually, I wish I had your restraint. I'm a very nice person as long as people aren't being openly rude... lol.

on a side note, I've been meaning to catch up! I don't get the full post through my Reader and my work blocks your site for some reason so I haven't had a chance to catch up! I've missed reading about Elijah!!

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