As much as we think life is about family, fun and making a living, it’s really about lessons. It’s about resolving our karma, if you will. It’s about tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, letting go, and the love that weaves through all of it. These lessons tend to sneak up on us when we’re least expecting them.
I had been putting off buying q-tips and flossers for a week. Today, I found out why. With time to spare before my meeting, I decided to pick the items up at the grocery store. It had been a year and a half since I had been in this store. I used to shop here every Saturday when I lived in town.
As I stood in line, waiting to pay, I spotted my old nemesis across the room. She was walking toward my checkout lane. I could tell by the expression on her face, she remembered me. The cashier was pleasant, however. We made small talk with each other as my nemesis approached. She came up behind the cashier and spoke to me with a sneer that only I detected.
“Do you want me to take care of that for you?”
I looked at the object in her gaze. It was the red basket I left sitting on the conveyor belt. I used it, sometimes, to separate the orders. I crinkled my brows and said, “What?” She repeated her question in a firmer tone.
She had a way of making me appear rude even when I was on my best behavior. As she gave an irritated look to the cashier, I realized that my leaving the basket on the belt must have been a pet peeve of hers. “Ya, thanks” was my reply.
I could tell what she was thinking. She remembered our interaction from two years prior. I didn’t quite remember all the details, but I had the tendency to speak before thinking. I’m sure I said something to tick her off. I had a knack for making an enemy of someone I didn’t even know.
I realized this woman had been carrying her anger and resentment for me all this time. I knew that was the reason she was in my face. She was just like me. I’ve carried anger, like poison, not knowing how to let it go. Triggers would bring it to the surface and it would explode.
In that moment, I felt overwhelming compassion for her and her burden. I forgave her, myself and the whole situation. Just then, I felt the burden lift. I smiled and almost laughed on my way toward the exit. It felt like I was making a quick escape. I left the anger and resentment there like a dark cloud or fog hanging in the air.
I had to make a second trip to the store that day. I came back again an hour later, this time with a friend from my meeting. We needed to pick up some snacks. Standing with my friend in the checkout line, there was my old nemesis again. Surely, my short forgiveness exercise cleared up our karma, I hoped. A quick glance at her assured me it worked. There were no negative vibes being sent my way.
My friend commented on how nice it was to see Donna again and what a nice person she was. I told my friend that Donna and I had an issue in the past. She glanced at me, looking genuinely surprised. My friend didn’t have a rude bone in her body. Therefore, she didn’t see rudeness in anyone else. My life lesson had clobbered me upside the head like a baseball bat. Thankfully, times come in our lives that present us with an opportunity for growth. I like how we always get another chance at forgiveness. Negative feelings weigh us down. Donna and I both deserved to be free from that.