Thursday, July 5, 2007

Meaningful Touch

Tonight I went to Vons by myself (what a treat) to grab a few groceries and some Skinny Cows. (Yummy!) It was a mad house, especially considering that it was the day after a major holiday.

I was standing in a rather long line that curved to the right (as all lines were tonight so that people still shopping could pass by) when a man walked right up and got in front of me. I wasn't too concerned, except that there were several people behind me, and I wanted him to know where the line ended. So, I kindly informed him. He not-so-kindly barked back at me. So, I as-kindly-as-I-could-muster told him that it was no big deal. He not-so-kindly ignored me and started making jokes with the cashier. Inside, my emotions went from anger to hurt because I felt I had been stepped on by this rude man.

I shrugged it off, and returned to the conversation I was having with the woman behind me whom I had just met. She didn't see what had happened between me and the man, but as I was putting my Skinny Cows on the conveyor belt, she reached over and, ever-so-slightly, rubbed my shoulder blade and smiled a "have a good evening" smile. She didn't even know that I needed that little bit of meaningful touch just at that moment. But God knew!

Now, I'm not saying we should go around patting strangers on the back (they may not be as receptive as I was tonight), but we shouldn't underestimate the power of touch, or a smile, or an encouraging word. It could be just what someone needs at that very moment.


Ryan said...

While we lived in Aracadia the skill of letting someone go in front of you was something that I had to learn quickly. In the Eastern culture, respect, honor, and privilege is based on age, not on something as trivial as position in line. Therefore, if you were standing in line, and an older person finished shopping and was ready to check out, they would, (without eye contact) get in front of you. The queue meant nothing.

It actually took me taking an Asian-American ministry class to understand this phenomenon.

ATSmith said...
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heidibelle said...

I think sometimes God sends those people to encourage us right before we lose it. I had a simalar moment in Star once, where a guy brought me to tears because he was so mean to me, just out of the blue. People can be so insensitive.