I was that person.
I am fortunate to have the flexibility in my job to make my own schedule and work from home. A few weeks ago I was on the road for meetings and had some time to kill in between meetings. I decided to check out the local Christian store and try to find a cd I had been wanting. I had never been to this store before, and like most local stores, owners usually know their customers. The cashier was checking out a lady, whom she must have known given their conversation. I quietly made my way around the store, checking out the music, devotionals, and other books. After the customer left, the cashier found me and asked if she could help me find anything. I told her I had some time in between meetings and thought I would check out the store. That didn't seem to satisfy her, but she left me alone and I continued to look through the store. I came upon a section of books that dealt with grief and loss. One lone blue book caught my eye and as I read the title, tears filled my eyes. It was a book about the promise of heaven for children who die in the womb or shortly after birth.
I started to read the inside cover, and the cashier peeked around the bookshelf, "Doing ok?" I nodded my head and continued to read. I was contemplating just walking out of the store, as I really don't like sales people bugging me when I shop. But I couldn't put the book down, I wanted to see the chapter titles and decide if I wanted to buy it. I continued to flip through the book and read different passages, I wasn't in a hurry. I'm not sure how long I stood there reading, it couldn't have been too long, but the cashier quietly walked through the aisles and peeked her head around to look at me three more times. I got the feeling she thought I was trying to steal something. I was offended and irritated. Did I look like a thief? Who would steal something from a Christian store? Can't a customer look at something without being suspicous? I had had enough.
I took the book up to the counter to buy it and kept my head low, fighting back tears. I could tell the cashier was irritated at me being in the store- I'm not sure if she was ready to go on break, didn't know me, or what the problem was. She rudely asked, "Is that all for you?" (really stressing the all) I told her yes, that would be it, thank you. I could tell she was taken aback by my tears, and she looked down to read the title of the book. Her face dropped once she realized why I was upset. She didn't say another word; I paid and walked out of the store. I was overwhelmed with emotions- I was heartbroken at the loss of my child. I was angry that I was buying a book about death. I was hurt that the cashier had treated me so rudely, hadn't I been through enough already? How rude! (However, I am so glad I bought the book, as it was incredibly helpful in my healing process.)
As I drove home that afternoon, I replayed the events of what had happened in the store in my head. I glanced at the blue book and was saddened at the thought of reading the book... Why did my child have to die? Why did life have to be unfair and so hard at times? Why did the lady have to treat me like that? Who was she to categorize and judge me? I was a nice person and had already been through so much, couldn't I catch a break? (I was really having a self pity party in my car.) Then I heard a song on the radio... Love Them Like Jesus by Casting Crowns. I was at a red light, sobbing. I was an emotional mess. I kept driving and calmed myself down. Then my tears turned to laughter. Oh my God I thought, I am that person. I am that crazy person driving and crying. I am a mess. I thought of all the times I had seen someone in their car, crying. And how, at that time, I wondered why someone would be driving and crying...was something so bad that they couldn't contain themselves? Really, was it necessary to draw attention to yourself while driving? Then it hit me. I was just like the cashier. I was judging these people without knowing their story, without knowing what their life entailed. How rude of me.
Ok God, I got the message. "...love your neighbor as yourself..." How could I be upset with the cashier for judging me, when I do the same to others? Like the song said, "...love them like Jesus..."
Losing Bristol has changed so much about who I am, who I want to be, and the type of person I need to be. I'm not perfect by any means, but I am trying to change and be the person God wants me to be.
"...You don't need the answers to all of life's questions, just know that He loves them and stay by their side. Love them like Jesus. Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands. The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands. The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands. He cares for them just as He cares for you. So love them like Jesus..."
Love Them Like Jesus, by Casting Crowns