Saturday, April 5, 2014

Patience! You've got all the time in the world—whether a thousand years or a day, it's all the same to you.—Psalm 90:3 (NIV)

Practicing the presence of God in the check out line

I have a favorite local store where I get most of my fresh fruits and vegetables. When I went to the store yesterday, my grocery card was pretty full because I hadn't been in a while. Waiting in line  and practicing the Daily Awareness Prayer “In the checkout line,” I noticed that the woman behind me only had two tomatoes in her hands. I offered her to get in front of me, which she appreciated.  When it was her turn to pay, I overheard her say to the cashier “I will just get one tomato then.” Looking up, I realized that she didn't have enough money to buy both tomatoes. I offered to pay the difference but she said, “No thank you.” I assured her that it would be my pleasure to give her the dollar but she refused again. I had to let it go because I did not want to offend or embarrass her. She left with one tomato in her hand when it was my turn to pay. The woman at the cash register who I had not met before, said to me, “Offering to pay was very nice of you."
 “I wish she would have let me pay for the other tomato because she obviously wanted two,” I said, “ but I didn't want to offend her.” 
“I know,” said the cashier, “but it was really nice that you offered.” 

My bill came to $30,24 and when I handed her my credit card, I felt God’s grace and abundance like I had never felt before and I said out loud, “I am so grateful that I can pay this without having to put something back.” The cashier looked at me, nodded and put the last item into my bag, mentioning how nice it was that I had brought my own bag. She then put a box of Baklava  cookies on top of my fruits and said, “This is like paying it forward which you were trying to do. Have a great day!”
For a split second I thought about saying “No thank you” because my Lenten discipline this year is to fast on sweets. I stopped myself just in time and said “Thank you so much. That is very kind of you” and I left the store.

Can you imagine if I had told her I am not eating sweets right now? It would have been rejecting her generosity in the same way that happened to me a few minutes before. It had not felt good at all. I don't think the woman with the two tomatoes knew that the gift I was going to give her, would have been a gift to me if she had accepted it. But she did give me the precious gift of being aware of the blessing that I can buy all the fruits and vegetables without having to think about or putting any back.
It makes me wonder, how many gifts I am rejecting daily without being aware of it? How many gifts that God is trying to give me that I don’t see or appreciate? 

Becoming aware of the moment as I write this, I see the beauty of our cat Peaches. She is lying peacefully next to me while I type this story. The morning sun is coming through the windows playfully painting leaf shadows on the wall and the palm trees are swaying in the wind outside while the steaming green tea right next to me, is waiting to cool off. And these are only a few of the blessings I am aware of right now because I came into the present moment and looked up from my typing.

I hope you accept all the blessings that God and life has in store for you! I would love to hear what they are! Here is one of my blessings in life: 

Below is the prayer I prayed to practice the presence of God:

In the Checkout Line
Patience! You've got all the time in the world—whether a thousand years or a day, it's all the same to you.Psalm 90:3 (NIV)
The grocery checkout line is the most wonderful place to practice the presence of God. Have you ever watched the lines and gone from one lane to the next because you thought it was faster just to discover that you would have been out the store had you stayed in the first one?
Patience! It wont go faster if you are impatient, nor will it make you happier if you get out the store faster. Your impatience will still be with you and you will rush to the next thing in life, missing life as you rush through it. If you accept that waiting in a checkout line is part of life, you will already be a happier person.
Practice patience the next time you go shopping, being present in your life, present to God and those God put in your path that day.
“We have all the time in the world, time enough for life to unfold.”—Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)

  • When you stand in the checkout line and find yourself wondering whether this is the fastest lane, take a deep breath and stay in the lane you are in…
  • Be aware of your body and stand with your weight equally distributed on both feet… Relax your jaw, shoulders and stomach... Allow your breathing to calm and quiet your mind...
  • God is with you this moment… Be aware of the pure miracle of it… You are alive now…
  • Look around and appreciate everything you see, hear and feel… Be completely present and look at the people God put into your life in this moment… Smile… Talk to someone and make their day...
  • Be present and let God’s patience and love flow through you into the world.

Prayer: I have all the time in the world. Amen.

Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.
Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B
A Tree Full of Angels

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