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January 13, 2014 8:24 AM

At Christmas time I was in a long line at the Habitat for Humanity store. Apparently the cashier was having trouble with the cash register computer which was being obstinate and slow. I assumed she was a volunteer. The woman waiting at the front of the line quite frankly was acting obnoxiously. She was complaining about how slow the check out was, complaining that she already had to watch her grandkids for the day, and now “this”. She threatened the cashier that she could have just walked out of the store without paying for the chair.

Oh my gosh! What a fiasco. The cashier stoically took all she had to dish out and never wavered with her politeness. I am observing it all. When the lady left the person behind her said to the cashier,” I want to shake your hand; you handled all that quite well.” Everyone in the line clapped.

I too appreciated how the cashier handled things but there was a part of me that was so sad for the woman. There were several things evident to me about. First, was the stress and anger that she “had” to watch her grandchildren that morning. I doubt the children were too happy about being watched by her because she was so angry and stressed. What a missed opportunity for love and happiness for all of them!

The irony was that she took her frustrations verbally out on the casher, when she was unable to find voice for herself and say, “I don’t feel like babysitting today.” How many times do we take out our feelings or inability to speak up on others? I would just have liked to put my arms around the woman and tell her to take a deep breath and let out all of her frustrations. Imagine a good time and space and let all the garbage she had collected roll off of her. That is the hypnotist in me.

The lesson for me of course is being more responsible for speaking up when I really don’t want to do something, because if I don’t I may do just what the woman did, which is inappropriately take it out on a stranger. I am thinking more about that.

Here is to having a happy Christmas and knowing when to speak up and when to shut up.


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