Bear with me here… So I had to run over to local shopping center tonight and while I was there I figured I’d go walk around the other stores (ya know since I was actually dressed, and out and all). Turns out I found a silicone whisk on clearance that I’ve been wanting at XYZ-store so I decided to go stand in a mile-long line to buy it (what can I say, I like a good deal).
Fast forward to my check-out counter conversation with the cashier (who shall remain nameless, even though I of course know her name now because let’s face it this is Facebook and who knows who may actually know this lady so I’m giving her some anonymity):
ME: Well you guys sure are keeping busy today.
CASHIER: You better believe it. It never stops. The later it gets, the busier it gets.
ME: At least that makes the time pass by more quickly.
CASHIER: Yes, but I’m getting too old for this. I have to be back at 6 a.m. tomorrow.
ME: Ouch. That’s rough. But in that case, we can thank God you have a job giving you plenty of hours this Christmas season.
CASHIER: That’s the truth.
ME: I was unemployed for Christmas two years ago, it was NOT fun.
CASHIER: I’ve been there too. And you’re right, it’s no fun at all. I am lucky for this job, but it’s certainly not the dream I had for my life in my youth. I’m 61, I retired from the federal government and thought I was done working, but things happened. I didn’t save enough, plan enough.
<<I’m looking at her more discerningly now and realize she’s got to be about my mom’s age. Clearly older than me, but with lots of life ahead of her>>
ME: I used to work for the federal government too. I understand things happening for sure. I had my world completely fall apart in an instant and I certainly wasn’t prepared enough… But you do know, it’s never to late to start dreaming or chasing a dream.
<<At this point the price code won’t scan so she has to walk off to re-print the ticket. I’m now keenly aware the customers on either side of me have been listening to our entire convo as they look at me and smile>>
CASHIER: You used to work for the government? But you’re so young, what happened?
ME: Let’s just say I said something really careless and thoughtless on social media, and paid the price for it with my job and life I once knew. It was a time in my life where I thought being political was more important than be loving or human. It was stupid.
CASHIER: Wow, I had something like that happen too. Not on social media, but something that sounds just as awful and crazy. I’m so sorry.
ME: Thanks. I hated that time of my life, but it taught me so much and brought me to where I am now, so in that regard I’m grateful God was able to use the moment and teach me such a big lesson.
CASHIER: I hear you girl. I thought my life was over plenty of times, but it wasn’t. Bad always gets better with time, doesn’t it?
ME: It certainly does. Even when it feels like nothing but despair in the moment.
CASHIER: I’m going through a moment right now. I need to remember that.
<<I’m moments away from tears at this point — I instantly recognize that God put me in this line, and at this register not to buy one single item but rather with a very clear purpose. Now I’m unable to walk away without saying more>>
ME: Cashier, you’re talking to the right person then. I’m going to be praying for whatever you’re going through. That you may move through it quickly and get to the better things on the other side soon. That said, can you do me a favor Cashier?
<<The lady to the right of me, Lady on the Right, has now moved within one to two feet of me listening more closely>>
Cashier: Maybe. What are you talking about?
ME: I need you to promise me that you’re gonna start dreaming again. That you stop feeling like you’re not allowed to dream at 61 — I need you to know you are. But it can’t be just any old dream. It needs to be a dream so big that you know you can’t do it on your own.
CASHIER: But I AM 61, why would I want to dream about something I don’t even think I can do myself? I’m too old to dream at 61.
ME: Because that’s where God is going to step in and help fulfill that dream. He wants you to believe it’s possible with Him, because it is. He just needs you to believe and dream. Can you do that for me?
<<Cashier now has tears in her eyes, as does Lady on the Right>>
LADY ON THE RIGHT: I think I was sent to XYZ-store tonight not to buy this stuff <<pointing to her bags>> but to hear this conversation. I think I need to start dreaming for something.
CASHIER: <<nodding>> I’m thinking the same thing. Thank you for talking to me and treating me like a real person tonight. I really needed it.
<<I walk away saying “God bless you, Cashier. And you ladies too” to the ladies listening and other two cashiers. “Merry Christmas to ALL of you” as I walk out the door, only to find Lady on the Right standing beside me yet again>>
LADY ON THE RIGHT: Seriously, thank you for conversation. Do you ever think your God has things happen like this for a reason for people like me?
ME: I’m certain of it.
There were a few back and forths I left out, but needless to say by the time I was at my car I had tears in my eyes and heart bursting at the seams. I knew I had in fact been sent to that shopping center just to have that conversation. To be unashamed about my past — recognizing that despite being only two years ago in the eyes of man, I know I’m lightyears away from it in the eyes of God — in order to allow me to connect with women at a check-out counter. Women who needed to hear there’s a God out there who wants the very best for them. Who wants them to boldly and fearlessly dream big things.
It got me thinking — how many other times have I been on the verge of similar conversations, but ignored the urge to even start up a casual conversation? How many times I have ignored the Holy Spirit prompting me to share something bigger and bolder? How many seeds have I walked away from and left unplanted?
Perhaps not for a while now, but tonight reminder me to be bolder still. Braver. I will move where He orders my steps without hesitation. To indeed live like I love God so much more than I love this life — because I do.
As I told a my BFF tonight, I think something BIG is moving in my life and in this past 24hrs, this was yet another confirmation moment…. change is coming. I can’t wait.