As I mentioned in an earlier post, my contract ended last week and I found myself suddenly unemployed.
On my last day, I had lunch with my friends from work and said my good-byes.
I felt sad and overwhelmed. The direction of my life had changed. I was shocked and unprepared.
Remembering I needed food in the house for the next day, I headed to the grocery store.
I walked around the store in a bit of a daze picking up what I needed.
Standing at the self-serve checkout, I realized I was taking a lot longer than normal. I was checking everything.
Did I have my key card, my wallet, all of my bags? Then I would check again, fearful that in my state of mind, I would leave something important behind.
I was holding up the people behind me, who were most likely getting impatient and wondering why I was taking so long.
Then it dawned on me.
How many times had I got impatient with someone in that same supermarket, without ever thinking about what they might be dealing with?
Most of the time we are so busy rushing from place to place we don’t even stop to think about the people around us. We are preoccupied with our own lives and problems.
We don’t think about what could have happened to someone else. We don’t think about the burdens they could be carrying.
A person could have just lost their job, been told they have cancer, found out a loved one was in a car accident, have a sick child in the hospital, lost their home to bankruptcy or a variety of other situations.
At that moment, I understood I needed to be kinder to people.
Sometimes kindness doesn’t require us to do anything except give someone a little extra time and space.
There is always time for more patience and understanding – because you never know what people are going through.
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