I was at Costco a couple of weeks ago to get my winter tires taken off. I arrived before the store opened in order to get in line for one of the first appointments; though I was an hour early, there were already five or six people ahead of me.
I had brought some reading with me and stood in line, trying to concentrate on that content. However, I was distracted by a gentleman in line ahead of me. He was ‘holding court’ for those around him, talking fluidly about golf swings, greens, courses, club fees…all things golf. At first I was a bit annoyed, and then noticed that he had a “Keep Hydro Public” button on his coat, and I warmed to him…at little.
When the store opened and as we turned over our keys and instructions, I again felt annoyance…this time with the guy at the service desk. He was, in my opinion, unnecessarily gruff and abrupt with us, the first customers of the day. I wished for a friendlier experience.
As we waited, I told the man from the line that I appreciated his button, and we chatted. I warmed to him…a little more. He wasn’t optimistic about changing the city council’s plan about hydro, but he did talk of winning a battle about prescription coverage for seniors, and acknowledged that while we can’t always make a difference, sometimes we can.
Our cars were ready at almost the same time. As the golfer man picked up his keys, he said to the guy at the service desk, “Hey, I put a comment in the comment box about how well you treated me this morning.”
Huh? I hadn’t seen him get any better treatment than I had. But I sure could feel the shift in the attitude of the Costco employee. “Thanks,” he smiled. “We don’t get that very often.” And you know what? Then that employee was exceptionally friendly with the next person in line…me! I believe saw grace in action that morning (the word ‘grace’ shares its roots with both ‘gratitude’ and ‘gracious.’)
Grace often operates by its own set of rules…coming unbidden and unexpected. But grace also enjoys pulling us in as its partner-in-crime. While we can’t control it, we can collude with it. We can be open, let go of our precious and preferred plans, and accept the gift in whatever form it comes. And, perhaps more importantly, we can be “givers of grace,” letting grace find a way of working through us.
In fact that’s what this month is all about: asking ourselves what we need to do to enable grace to flow more freely. What is your “grace work”? Offering gratitude? Letting go? Trusting more? Accepting whatever comes? Sneaking a small gift into someone’s life without them knowing it?
Sometimes we can make a difference. May we be grace-full people indeed!
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