Sunday, May 07, 2017

The Checkout Line

Most of us can be pretty good at feeling sorry for ourselves. We need reminders of how good things are for us most of the time. A number of years, ago, I learned from the lady spoken of below in a post dated October 23, 2006.

I am not a good grocery shopper but I have my preferences. The majority of my food budget is spent at Wal-Mart but I buy my fruits and vegetables from the Fiesta super market near my apartment. Last evening as I approached the checkout line, I arrived at the same time as a lady who I would guess is in her mid-thirties. She told me to go ahead as she had something else to buy. She did ask for a favor: she wondered if I might put her items on the conveyor belt. You see, the woman was in a wheelchair and it was a struggle for her to reach the level of the cashier. After her purchases were deposited on the belt, she backed out to retrieve her final product. I asked if I could help and she accepted my offer. When we turned down an adjoining aisle, she pointed out a gallon of bottled water she needed. The water was stocked one shelf from the top, far surpassing her ability to grasp. It was easy for me but I wondered how she had planned to reach the water without assistance. Back in line, she told me her name was Jennifer and she was excited about a job interview today with one of the electric companies. I let her know I would be praying for her hiring and I have. I walked back to my car feeling guilty that I take the ability to walk for granted. Jennifer had no one to shop with her- no husband or boyfriend and no kids- and yet she seemed content. She was limited to how much food she could carry on her lap but she didn't complain. She had no job but she was upbeat about her prospects. She wasn't in a wheelchair for the short term- it was an electric model used by those permanently infirmed- but she was moving in the right direction. Without feeling sorry for herself, she put most of us to shame.

My sophomores quizzed over the first eighteen verses of John 5 today, the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus asked the paralyzed man a question with an obvious answer:
"Do you want to get well?" Incredibly, the unknown invalid never answered. When the Savior blessed him with an amazing healing, he did not know who had performed the miracle. Later that day, he bumps into Jesus who cryptically tells him, "Stop sinning or something worse will happen to you." What was his sin? Could it have been self-pity? Was he so absorbed in himself that he did not attempt to comprehend the world around him? That would be understandable to us, even if we are not physically challenged. I asked my tenth graders how many would wish to die if they were to become paralyzed. Most indicated they would choose death, albeit without the knowledge of being in that situation or having those closest to you desperately wanting you to live. No one can adequately relate to life after loss of mobility. The thought of losing the ability to walk staggers me but many survive and most thrive. Most of us could use a healthy dose of whatever Jennifer has to motivate her. In spite of what I perceive as limitations, she attacks obstacles with a smile and dignity. I thought I was a good teacher but the lesson Jennifer taught me in a few minutes can't be duplicated by someone who simply stands in front of a classroom.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one."
Bruce Lee

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

sharyn krazer said...

Steve, I am blessed to work with people every day who are unable to walk. The human spirit is incredible. The only thing I disagree with you on is the fact that MOST (you stated some) of these people(at least the ones who I have contact with) thrive. It is rare to have a patient who feels sorry for himself for very long, particularly the non-ambulatory ones. I do believe the Lord gives them hope and courage. Many have found a deeper meaning and compassion for others through their own personal struggles. Although they have lost physical ability, nine times out of ten, they have grown spiritually. Many would tell you that given the opportunity to avoid being paralyzed or debilitated, they would not change their circumstances because God came near and gave them so much more spiritually. Their lives are enriched by their trials through whatever means they have become unable to walk. I am very blessed to work with several individuals who are truly heroes in every sense of the word. They just see themselves as human beings struggling through and overcoming one day at a time. They are inspiring and uplifting and I am so proud of them. Their numbers are many. God Bless-Sharyn