Originally posted December 6, 2011, at Faith Formation. Republished with permission of the author.
Child of God, you will be counter cultural these days.
Consider this report from one of your fellow light bearers.
The line wound around the lobby area of the post office. Standing between two other patrons in the midst of dozens, Child of God saw that there was only one attendant at the counter. This was going to be a long wait. What to do?
Well, one could walk out and come back at another time — but with the holiday season as it is, chances are there will not be a “better” time until after Christmas. That will be too late.
Might as well stay put.
Grumbling and mumbling escalated. “What are they thinking?” was the most benign commentary. How to diffuse the anger and angst?
From somewhere in the building came furtive, angry voices — uh oh, all is not well behind the scenes.
What to do? What to say? Child of God says, “It seems that something is going on — there’s some trouble back there.”
Well, that didn’t help. Now the grumbling and mumbling is bordering on profanity.
The postal worker’s face is flushed, the jaw is clenched. Nonetheless, the words must be polite. “May I help the next one in line?”
The patron (not required to be polite or even civil) steps forward. Venomous tones shroud the requested service. The postal unit’s manager is behind the scenes, so the servant behind the counter will be subjected to a lashing.
Grace in ungraceful times
What to do? How to offer even a whisper of grace in this scene? Find a way! This is the holiday scene, and it is a rough one. This isn’t the only queue you will encounter.
Standing in line between the maddened others, stand your ground. Check your own pulse. Breathe in from the belly…aaahhhh…. breath of God, breath of life.
If your jaw or your fists are clenching, release them. Perhaps your main task isn’t to get those stamps or trinkets after all. Perhaps you are there as a “light-bearer,” gazing with love at the others in line.
Perhaps you are there to serve the servant, behind the register, who is paid a pittance to serve the patrons who, in many cases, have regressed to their toddlerhood.
Child of God, go out. Bear the good news. Be gracious and grateful to every clerk, every server, every patron.
Wherever you are, your presence may be the light that will shine in somebody’s darkness.
Find a link to Pamela Czarnota’s blog Faith Formation at Lutheran Blogs.