Thursday, April 04, 2013

a bottle of water

The bottle of water I bought this morning
On my way to class this morning I stopped to buy a bottle of water.  I always go to the same coffee shop because it is convenient, well-priced, and I want to support the new management which seems to be trying really hard to change the mediocre reputation the place had before.  Anyway, this morning I walked up to the counter and waited for the server who was busy tidying something up at the back of the serving station. 

As I was waiting, another person walked up to the counter and stood on my right, closer to the server.  I watched as the server turned, greeted the other person, took their order, and made her way to the cash register (where I was standing) to complete the transaction.  I felt my mouth drop open and my head shake ever so slightly, my annoyance at being overlooked coming through in my body language.  I was here first, lady! 

The server smiled at me and indicated that she would take my order while the other person was fishing for money in their purse.  I avoided her smile, pouting over the slight I felt at not being served first.  And yes, I delayed giving her my order because I was annoyed at not getting prompt service.  It makes no sense at all, I know.  Shooting myself in the foot, as they say.  It was then that I realised I was being absolutely ridiculous, so I gave her my order.  In fact, the server and I said the words "a bottle of water" at the same time because she knows what I always get.  When she returned with the water, I gave her the money, a small tip, and a smile.  As I walked away, I reprimanded myself for taking offense at something so small:  "Really?  You're going to get upset over a simple thing like that?  You were distracted when you came in, you know, on your iPhone, so perhaps the server did not think you were ready to order.  And the other person was very decisive and quick, you have to admit.  No need to take it out on the server who was only doing her job and doing it with a smile."  Okay.  I let it go. 

Due to some childhood experiences, I can be sensitive to being overlooked, and sometimes I still react inappropriately to situations that trigger feelings of unimportance, smallness, and insignificance.  Thankfully, most of the time I catch myself and make a choice to respond with understanding and patience instead of taking offense where none is meant.

This morning we had a guest speaker in class and she talked about the great freedom we all have: the freedom to love in all circumstances.  No one can take this choice away from us.  In good times and in bad, whether we are enjoying great success or things are being taken away from us, whether people love us and praise our efforts or they hate and despise us.  In every instance, we always have the choice to respond in love, offering kindness, grace, and a smile.  May I take advantage of this incredible gift of freedom more often.  Even when buying a bottle of water.

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