white as snow

filed under: I Am Servant on April 9, 2015

It was one of the rare occasions that I get to the grocery store by myself. I mean, not nearly as rare as it used to be, as now I will make sure that I go either alone or with one child. It just works better that way. So this day I happened to be alone and it happened to be a busy day (Good Friday to be exact, people doing Easter shopping).

these boots

I am most definitely one of those people who does not make eye contact when I go out. I keep to myself. Wear normal, boring, plain clothes and don’t make waves.

I was in line at a big all natural and organic grocery store, minding my own business, when I heard two ladies talking behind me. They were deep into a gossip session about she-who-shall-not-be-named (they referred to her like that, not me). This other mom was making horrible choices in her chosen brand of laundry detergent and she was buying non-organic fruit snacks for her kids and even let them spend the night at another mom’s house who has been known to let her kids drink pop. (soda for you classy folks) The horror!

I was totally engrossed. I mean, I was bored (kinda) so it was super interesting. Kinda like a Real Housewives of Maple Grove, MN.

The lady in front of me was dressed similar to me. Low key. Hair in a pony tail. Shoes dirty and old.

The bagger asked if the woman wanted her milk in a paper bag and she replied, “Don’t you have plastic?”

What did she just say? 

A hush fell over the line and the cashier paused for a millisecond which seemed like an eternity and the bagger stammered something about, “Um, no. Paper or cloth.”

The women behind me started in immediately, bashing that woman and her ignorance in a hushed but completely judgmental tone. How dare she potentially endanger and kill innocent sea life or fill the garbage dumps with toxic plastic chemicals! (for the record, I use plastic bags and currently have 23,846 in my pantry waiting to be recycled.)

these boots

The woman looked down and, realizing that something was off, said, “I work at the women’s shelter. We always need plastic bags. I am sorry, I just thought I’d ask.”

And with that, she paid for her groceries and left. I paid for mine in a heavy silence and walked out.

I have no idea what became of the women behind me, but I never did hear another peep out of them.

Sitting at my kitchen table the next day, I thought of that woman in front of me.

My gaze landed on the deck just beyond the picture window, where the kids had left their muddy boots the evening before.

Closing my eyes I bowed my head. Feelings of shame washed over me.  Why didn’t do something or say something? Why didn’t I give those ladies spreading judgement and gossip a disapproving glance or even a supportive glance to the woman in front of me. Something.

these boots

As much as I felt compelled to re-write the history in my head, I couldn’t. I couldn’t change the fact that “doing and saying nothing” was my action of choice.

But here in this moment I could pray. Pray for the sweet stranger trying to do good. Pray for the ladies behind. Pray that if given the chance, I would choose acceptance over judgement. That next time, we all would do it right.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” Isaiah 1:18

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Comments

  • Laura says:

    Good advice for everyone:) And next time you have a stash of plastic bags, you know where to take them:)

    Laura
    http://www.24-7style.com

    • Amanda says:

      So true!!

  • Tamara R says:

    Bless your heart! We’ve all been there. I’m not sure why our brains, recently frozen in the checkout line, will simply not quiet down once at home. Good advice to all. Some only find reassurance in their decisions when they criticize others for theirs, they forget that ‘bashing’ down others does not lift their own position. Kindness is never wasted. Thank you for sharing! I Love the whole book of Isaiah! I’m praying for all.

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Tamara!

  • maria in nj says:

    only GOD can judge me…

    • Amanda says:

      That’s the idea! 🙂

  • Pam Lawley says:

    And this could be my all-time favorite post from your blog – and you didn’t mention cake!!

    God Bless us EVERY one!!!

    • Amanda says:

      <3 thank you

  • Diane says:

    A favorite post !

  • Robin Saporito says:

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes the best thing we can do is hold something or someone in prayer. You would not have changed those women, but you might have found yourself in an ugly situation. I will pray with you that their hearts might be changed. Then you can take a couple thousand of the bags awaiting recycling and take them to the shelter.
    Love you, have a blessed week.

    • Amanda says:

      Excellent suggestion. 🙂

  • Kris H. says:

    You have a good heart. I don’t if you could have said or done anything at that moment but I’m sure God heard you’re prayers. Thanks for posting…something I needed to hear.

  • Linda R says:

    Until we walk in another person’s shoes…

  • Becca says:

    I loved this post, Amanda. Truthfully, I just love you… your’re honest (even when it brings about embarrasement), poignant, and spiritually sound… every single attribute that I lack, but long for.

    • katharine says:

      hey, don’t be so sure that you lack those attributes! I don’t even know you, but I think you are honest, just based on what you wrote here! We are all working on those things, it’s a lifelong education.

  • Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon says:

    Love this post. Such a good reminder to always give people the benefit of the doubt, you don’t walk in their shoes. xoxo

  • Christy says:

    I think when we are in that situation, many of us stand in silence from shock, being passive, or just awkwardness. Hopefully if you are in that position again, you can say something or give an encouraging look or disapproving look. l

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch says:

    I find myself wishing I could rewrite moments in history all. the. time. Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I do that? Why? Why? Why? But, bowing our heads to pray for those in the grocery store line does more good in the long run than any glances we can give or comments we can make. Or at least, that’s what I’m thinking. Even saying a little prayer for the gossipers will do a little good – and when I do that, it sure helps me to not be the one caught in the grocery line gossiping or criticizing nearly as much.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes! Exactly. I want so badly to make sure that I am not making stupid snap judgements of others!! I will keep praying on it. 🙂

  • Verona says:

    Thank you for the forgiving cautionary Bible Verse.!
    I would not have been afraid to speak up for the maligned lady.
    I “pop” when a situation isn’t fair.
    That nasty person was being a bully!

    • Amanda says:

      I can just see you “popin”!! You would have done right.

  • Robin @ Simply Southern Baking says:

    Thanks for sharing Amanda. Sweet lady for thinking of the shelter. I may have given those ladies a look…or two. Sometimes you just don’t know what to say or do in a situation. Bless you for praying for those there. 🙂

  • Charlotte Moore says:

    Good post!!

  • Jocelyn @BruCrew Life says:

    I have found myself in that kind of situation before, and I didn’t do the right thing. Sometimes it is just easier to keep your eyes down and not make eye contact with people who are not being kind. I pray for the courage to not be judgmental and to be encouraging to those around me no matter what. I love this post!!!!

  • Uni says:

    Such a good reminder of how judging can make us feel…something we all have done. I cannot say how much I love your site – and now after reading this blog not just for your wonderful recipes – but the obvious fact you are trying your best to stay on His path of goodness. Have a blessed day and I am praying for that sweet soul who must see so much sadness and hardships, but like you said so well, is trying to do good! Take care!

  • katharine says:

    Why don’t you try and make eye contact and smile at people next time you go to the store? If my experience is anything to go by, you will be pleasantly surprised. ”

    On a side note, smiling at some people irritates them, but more often times people smile back and sometimes a brief but nice random shopping or food related conversation occurs.

    It’s easy to smile at children or babies, old or disabled people; they are so un-threatening; but take a chance and smile at random grown ups too; it might just make their day, or be the only smile they receive!

    God Bless you and your cute family!

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