It was an awkward moment in July when I called to see if a friend was still on for providing dinner for our family. By his answer I knew he had forgotten. We had to kick into gear since there were nearly 30 already gathered at the home of my niece to eat.
We stopped at Publix and bought all the chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese from the hot deli, as well as Cole slaw, potato salad, Hawaiian rolls and baked beans. I felt bad for the customers waiting with the next number to be served at the deli. Their stares revealed their anger that we were taking all the available hot food. I avoided eye-contact because we had no other choice.
I managed to hold back my tears. We pushed our heavy cart with our heavy hearts to the cashier, which is when it happened…
Friendly Cashier, “Hello, You must be having some party!”
Me: “Actually no. My brother just died on Monday from Covid and the person who offered to bring us a meal tonight forgot.”
The poor cashier. I don’t remember what he said, but all the blood drained from his face.
Why did I do that? He didn’t deserve my blunt response, but I couldn’t help it. My emotions had been building all day and he happened to be there at the wrong time to be the recipient of my outburst.
Of course, I apologized, through tears. I tried to explain that I’m not normally like this, but I think the damage was done. He was embarrassed.
Harsh words are like that. Once spoken they can’t be taken back. Oh, we can do all we can to apologize and make it right, but if it’s not in the heart of that person to forgive, the relationship may never be restored.
We live in a harsh world right now. So many fling words on social media without thought. It’s hard to think the best when we’re hearing the worst.
But we are better than this. We don’t know what someone is going through unless they explode the reason in your face. I hope my obvious heartache and loss helped this poor guy give me sympathy instead of anger. But it’s his choice.
We all face heartache from time to time. It’s in these moments when kindness is appreciated.
This is my 11th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November. It was originally published in our neighborhood newsletter, which I began in 1999.