Is there anything much worse? Aside from maybe a root canal?
It was a beautiful weekend here in Alabama, so when I woke up to rain this Monday morning I hit the snooze button so many times that my husband actually said, “Are you getting up today?”
I dragged myself out of bed, showered and went on with my morning routine. All while secretly wishing Monday away. Poor Monday. I wonder if it ever goes and eats worms?
I dropped my daughter off at school, but I didn’t head straight to work as I usually do. I needed to run to the post office first. I know. I can hear you now. Rainy Monday AND the line at the post office. Thanks for the sympathy. I feel it.
So, I walked into the post office and it was maybe 2 minutes after they were supposed to be open and about 5 or 6 people were already waiting in line with no employee in sight. The counter was locked down and there was a bit of a Fort Knox vibe going on. Not the most inviting scene. By the way, it’s a felony to rob a post office at gunpoint. I mean, just in case you didn’t know. There are plenty of signs to remind you. I lamented to myself about this crazy stupid world and the need for such reminders as I let out a silent groan and settled into my place at the back of the line.
Then the craziest thing happened. The man with the keys opened the door and the people in front of me felt like it was their job to heckle and torment him. They said things like, “I guess you don’t want to work today, huh?” “What took you so long?” “All I need is to pick up one package!”
And he ignored all of their selfish remarks. He didn’t smile. He didn’t even look their way. Which made me think this was a typical day in his world. It made me sad.
No wonder the place didn’t feel inviting. There was no love there. So I decided I would put it there.
The man with the keys went behind the counter and started calling people up. They’d do business and leave. One at a time without a smile and barely a greeting they’d move forward like grumpy un-caffeinated cattle. Finally, I was glad to be next in line because I couldn’t really wait to get out of that unpleasant place. Then one man came up behind me to wait his place in line. So I turned to him and said, “Please go ahead of me.”
The look he gave me could have stopped traffic. He was truly dumbfounded that someone would do that. “No, he said. It’s ok. I have a lot of mail to pick up after being gone for 10 days.”
“You must be tired then,” I said. “After such a long trip. Please go ahead of me.”
“What’s wrong with you? It’s Monday morning. Aren’t you supposed to be grumpy and in a bad mood?” (Yes, he actually said that to me) “Besides, you’re next!”
“Look, I’m not going to argue with you. Please go ahead of me. I am not in a hurry. Now, you’re next!”
He finally stepped ahead of me and it was then that I could tell he really was weary. So I asked him if he had been on vacation or if he had been on a business trip. He proceeded to tell me that he had been gone to work on a house he was trying to sell in North Carolina. No doubt a tiring adventure.
And then Love showed up. The woman standing at the counter who had been so grumpy before joined in on our conversation while she waited on her package. She talked about her recent trip to the beach and how pleasant it was there. And I mentioned how I couldn’t wait for my own beach vacation coming up in a couple weeks. She got her package and very pleasantly told us good-bye and to have a great day.
It was time for my new friend to gather his 10 days worth of mail and he still expressed his gratitude to me while he waited.
“See, I told you this would take awhile. You could have been done by now.”
“It’s really not a problem. I promise I am not in a hurry this morning.”
He gathered his mail and left. But not before he turned to me one last time to thank me for giving him my place in line.
I felt a rush of deep satisfaction wash over me. It’s not every day that I can make people smile. But it was very humbling to see how my decision to step aside and let Love flush through a listless building changed the attitude of the people around me. My hope is that they felt it too and had no other choice but to share the smile with someone else on this rainy Monday.