Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Walmart Wisdom

I've been very careful about my shopping and errands over the last year because Maren has been an absolute bear to take along. She is prone to screaming and crying fits, doesn't want to sit in the cart or stroller, and she also does not appreciate being strapped in her car seat. So I go do my stuff at night when I can go without her. It's better for everyone that way.

Last week, I had a whole days worth of errands to run. I had to bring the girls along, there was no way around it. We left at 9 a.m. and got home just before the kids got off the bus at 3:30. We went to the grocery store, we stopped to see Mike at his "remote office" which is his favorite coffee shop. From there we had books to return at the library and decided to stay for storytime. We had to pick up some papers at the doctor's office and get groceries. We went to Wendy's for lunch, then to Wal-Mart before stopping at the courthouse for more papers. I am happy to say we made it through all that with only one crying fit. And the picture shows what happened at Wal-Mart. She fell asleep in the cart. I was so happy!

I feel I should state upfront how much I hate Wal-Mart. But as one of my friends says it's like a dirty addiction, you hate it but you can't stop. As I was checking out the cashier commented on Maren sleeping. I made some comment about how that's better for everyone because she is not a good shopper and likes to scream in stores. She proceeded to give me some unsolicited parenting advice about how she handles her two year old. She tells him on the way what she is going to expect of him and then if he starts to act up she pulls him out of the cart and takes him directly to the car. She didn't specify what happens when they get to the car, but he usually straightens out by then.

So there I was the married mother of five children getting a parenting lecture from my single mom cashier. Something about that was less than desirable to me. First of all, I had been out doing errands all day with two little kids so I was not in a real jovial mood. Secondly, she told me her life story about her boyfriend who does all the cooking and her other issues in life which I really could not have cared less about.

I tried to listen graciuosly but really wanted to say something like this: "You have no idea what you are talking about! You have ONE kid, just wait until you have one that doesn't take no for an answer! Take my money, pack my bags and shut up."

Thankfully I didn't say that because I am learning about how we are supposed to be the aroma of life to people we come in contact with. I am supposed to show people the love and compassion of Jesus, even in the check-out at wally world. I know that being judgmental of the probably well-meaning young lady is not the answer, but I honestly don't want to give her my phone number and invite her over for dinner.

So how do we show the love of Christ to people we may only have a few minutes with? That day I think it was by listening to her. Obviously she doesn't have a lot of people to talk to or she wouldn't have been telling me her life story. Jesus valued every person he came into contact with. He loves everyone enough to die for them. So I should be able to love them enough to listen and treat them with grace.

There's also a lesson in there for my kids. If we teach them about the love of Jesus and all his works, but those lessons don't translate into our real lives they are going to have a problem making sense of it all.

And there's a lesson for me. I tend to take poorly to judgments on my parenting. It's something I work really hard at and want to do right. But the only person I am accountable to is Jesus. He knows my heart and my shortcomings and my strengths. I don't need to take too seriously the comments of a stranger when I have the Savior of the world in my corner.

2 Corinthians 2:15-17
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

No comments: