What can you do to brighten someone's day? How can you reduce the tension in your life and the lives of others? How about those long lines at the theatre or in the supermarket - is there a secret to relaxing the line? I have a few thoughts on this, but I want to share the thoughts of Father Paul Allick, the rector of Advent of Christ the King, an Episcopal Church in San Francisco. I was there on Easter Day and heard him preach. His marvelous sermon touched on several things, but because of what we write here in this blog, I took particular notice of one thing.
Shopping in large supermarkets can be a huge chore for many of us, because it seems that whenever we choose to go, everyone else is there at the same time. Who really enjoys lines? Come on, tell the truth. Father Paul had something to say about this though. When he is shopping, he said he can feel the tension. He told the congregation his response: "People are getting impatient. The clerk is feeling rushed. In the line I greet people; I make little jokes. I smile. I let people with less stuff than me go ahead in line. When I get to the clerk I greet them and say something nice. When they apologize for the wait I tell them that I am not in a hurry. The line relaxes. The clerk smiles and giggles. My hope, my mission is that everyone there has experienced a sense of reconciliation: a sense that it isn’t that bad and that today is going to be a good one."
What a wonderful way to go about life! WE can take control. WE can decide whether or not to be stressed. Slow down. Take a deep breath, and smile. Don't let the long line get to you. You can actually lighten the load for the clerk and for many in line. Yes, there will still be some filled with tension, but don't let that stop you from trying!
My sincere thanks to Father Paul for giving us yet another way to make a difference in this world. By the way, his entire sermon is worth exploring, so just click HERE to read the whole thing. As for me, I've been away from home, so I'm going out for some groceries. I wonder if there'll be a line.