I had to run some errands this afternoon and my husband was busy catching up on some work at home. We were both tired so we it was decided that since a local pizza place was running a great special, we would order one and I would pick it up on my way home.
Actually, my timing was perfect. I glanced at my clock while I was finishing up at the bank. Oh good! It was just about time to pick up the pizza and I was less than 10 minutes away. It would be ready by the time I got there.
When I arrived, there were probably about eight other people crowded in the small area in front of the counter. A frustrated-looking man stood at the counter while several people in the back scurried about looking for his order. Apparently it either had not been received or it had been given to someone else by mistake. After a few minutes, someone decided they should wait on the two other customers standing in front of me. The other people, who apparently were waiting on orders they had just placed, moved aside and I moved forward just in time for two more customers to step in. Needless to say, things were a bit crowded by now.
I was just about to step up to the counter when a woman came through the door and brushing past everyone else including me, went up to the counter and gave her name so that she could pick up her order. Now, I expected the counter person to tell her that she needed to wait her turn but that's not what happened.
I would like to say that I softly and gently told her that I was ahead of her and that it was my turn. Truthfully, that's what I should have done. Instead, I said nothing which gave the enemy the opportunity to start whispering in my ear about how rude that woman was and how "polite" I was being by remaining silent and "letting" her go first.
As the woman got her order, she commented on how busy it was and how long things were taking. Now that was just the sort of moment the enemy loves so he hissed at me, "Now!" I am ashamed to say that I listened and actually said. "Yes it is and it takes even longer when someone pushes their way in front of you."
The words were barely out of my mouth when she turned and looked at me with widened eyes. "I... I thought everyone here was waiting for their order and... " she reddened and instantly I saw what had really taken place. She hung her head and said, "I am so sorry. I didn't mean to do that to you." Now I was ashamed and I began to stammer out an apology as well.
Now the enemy does NOT like it one bit when people begin to apologize for behavior, even if it was unintentional so this needed to be stopped immediately! Just as the apologies were taking place, the person behind the counter said to me:
"This woman was coming to pick up her pizza which is ready. That's why I waited on her before you because you have not placed your order yet."
Uh-oh... this is just the sort of stuff the enemy likes to hear. Misunderstandings seasoned with fatigue and frustration usually produce anger if we are not careful. I was not careful.
I hastily retorted that I had already placed my order about 50 minutes ago and it was supposed to be ready almost 20 mintues ago but I have been standing in line all that time and...
At THAT moment... the frustrated-looking man decided to join in from over in the corner and tell me that he had been placed his order and had been waiting for 40 minutes so I needed to wait.
Everyone turned and looked at him in silence. At that moment, the employee who had told me I needed to place an order, sheepishly placed my order in front of me. I thanked her, paid her and left but... the battle was not over. Sigh... now I was upset at that man.
As I drove home, I muttered to myself that everything had been fine. The woman and I had dealt with the situation and then both the employee and the man had jumped in trying to stir things up. I hadn't done anything wrong, I had been "wronged" and they both had jumped all over me, blah... blah... blah...
Have you ever had conversations like this with yourself before? Maybe not but I sure have. Sigh...
I got home and began to relate this all to my husband aka "The Good Listener". As I did, I suddenly stopped and gulped. You see, as I was telling this story, I realized that people, mostly me, had been taking offense simply because they were misundertanding the words and actions of others. The woman hadn't been rude. When I recalled her face, her bearing and her voice, she was tired, frazzled and in a hurry. Not paying attention to what was going on around her, intent on what she needed to do, she simply rushed up to the counter without a second thought. It was a mistake, that was all.
The same thing happened with the store employee. Once again, distracted by trying to help someone find a misplaced order, aware that more and more orders were coming in as well as more customers, she simply did not realize that I had been standing there for awhile and no one had assisted me yet. It was a mistake.
As for the frustrated man... well... when we are frustrated we don't hear to well. It occurred to me that he didn't hear/focus on the part that I had placed the order 50 minutes ago. He wrongfully assumed that I had placed it when I first came in 20 minutes earlier and couldn't understand why it wasn't done yet.
I hung my head as I realized how much what we say and do is dictated by our interpretation of the events taking place. If we are not careful, we will jump to the wrong conclusions about what people say or what they do. This is the number one thing that causes division in relationships and divides churches.
Today I was reminded that it is important for me to daily ask God to help me see things through His eyes and deal with things the way He wants me to handle them. If I do not do this, I will find myself getting frustated, hurt and even angry. Worse yet, I will cause those around me to do so as well.
The good news is God understands that we are children. When we fail to conduct ourselves like His children, we can come to Him, confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from them. Then, He lovingly teaches us how to do better and He will continue to do so until we learn the lesson and learn it well.
[b]I hadn't done anything wrong, I had been "wronged" and they both had jumped all over me, blah... blah... blah.
[/b] [b]Have you ever had conversations like this with yourself before? Maybe not but I sure have. [/b] ... tiny ...[/tiny]
I think this happens to most, if not all, of us, K. We go in with certain expectations, and when they're not even close to being met -- such as was the case here -- your response is, more than likely, the response that most of us would've had. Thank God for His patience with us!
Was the pizza good?
I love how you give us a really good lesson within a life story.
I think your tolerance was greater than mine would have been. I might have hung around to give the order but all that time waiting ... I don't think I have that sort of patience! I would probably have resorted to something out of the freezer cabinet at the supermarket! You know, chips and something ;)
Great life lessons!