Publix has been a place or profound spiritual awakening for me lately. I know right? I knew their pub-subs were ridiculously good but I had no idea how much I had to learn from the men who bag my groceries.
I have this secret goal (well, not anymore) of having people. Not the kind of people you call, I have my people, I want people like the workers at Publix, my brow girl at Ulta, and my Starbucks barista. Don’t you love that feeling? Walking into a place you frequent as an employee gives you a nod acknowledging your loyalty and existence. The goal is about being known.
Anyway, Nick, the boy who bagged my groceries yesterday. It’s always a little awkward for the baggers isn’t it? When I ask how are you, do I direct it towards the cashier or the bagger? And then the whole, ma’am would you like help to your car? My go-to response: “nope.” Sometimes I smile and say no that’s all right directing my eyes towards the long line behind me and other times I point to my small load like, “I think I’ve got this one thanks though.”
Needing people isn’t my strong suit. In fact I pride myself on my competency and ability. I am a self-proclaimed multi-tasking queen. So the whole, “need help to the car thing” is almost a joke. Sometimes in my head I reply, “uhm this is nothing. I will carry all this and the waters in one load up two flights of stairs.” Until a few weeks ago I was okay with my independent attitude. But this attitude of mine does not cohere with my new hope of slowing down. Last week it dawned on me I refused help because Nick would take something that felt expensive: my time.
Here was wannabe slow me trudging through Publix like a mad woman to get exactly what I needed and get out. Margin is the only way we will have freedom to slow down. Do you feel that? Is your time an expensive commodity you can’t afford to waste?
We’ve got to be all in on our word. Are you craving change, sick of wearing yourself too thin? So am I and Publix is teaching me transformation will only come once every area of my life is interrupted. You would’ve thought Nick and I were on a first date. Awkwardly exchanging small talk, but then I remembered my goal: people. Nick will never recognize me if I’m just another too busy, too good for this conversation woman on her way home. He made some mention about my groceries being healthy and typically I would reply with, “well I went really hard Superbowl Sunday so I’m trying to cleanse.” Right? Because that’s what we do. Roll everything off nonchalantly so we don’t offend anyone with our opinions or impose on their time.
How will I have people if I don’t give them the time of day? So instead I said, “My theory is if I’m going to cook I want to make good food. Plus, my husband is rehabbing a shoulder injury for his baseball career so I want to make sure his body is taken care of.” As the words left I cringed at the risks: 1)This guy could be a big baseball fan and trap me for an unforeseen amount of time or 2) He could be a health fanatic and lecture me about my goldfish or ice cream.
My risks say a lot about my heart: 1) You aren’t worth my time and 2) I don’t care about your opinion. What good can I do for the people in my everyday life if I’m not present. The gospel is a series of interruptions. Jesus’ most powerful miracles were performed on his way to the cross. The goal was accomplished but transformation happened along the way. I can’t add slow to my to-do list. Slow has to be the blueprint for my to-do list.
So back to the parking lot. To my surprise Nick replied, “You know what I had a feeling he played baseball. He comes in with Rays gear sometimes and he’s pretty tall. How do you like living here?” Vulnerability was met with acceptance. And it turns out I have people after all and I simply need to do slow down to notice.