Today I ventured out with the gremlins to Costco. I am never opposed to this little activity because I totally justify all the hardship of schlepping two kids through the big box store by sharing a pizza with MK. We got through the shopping with minimal screaming (Thomas gets a C+ but we were nearing mid morning snack time.) As I was debating who should go into the car first from a safety perspective, I sat my purse down in the front seat and closed the door. Not even knowing this was possible, somehow the car locked. By the grace of God, only my purse and diet coke were inside and all children and holiday festive drinks were outside. The provision began there. It is not cold today. I had both kids outside of the locked car. No less than 5 people stopped to ask us if they could help or to offer their phones. There was even beer should things start looking really bleak. I had earlier heeded MK's request for pizza (so selfless, I know) so she wasn't hangry. My only concern was Thomas who was due for lunch but I figured that worst case scenario, I could sit on the bumper and nurse him. It would be uncomfortable and embarrasing but I still smiled and thanked God for the ability to feed him should I have to. There were many a mama in the parking lot so I was quickly able to borrow a phone to call Ross. It seemed that being locked out of a car with a tiny infant and squaking toddler wasn't going to be that awful. In more provision, Ross works five minutes from costco and our house is just five minutes more away. He was not in a meeting yet and was able to answer my call on the first ring (maybe because he didn't recognize the number? :) With no lecture giving, he was home to get the spare key and at my car in 15 minutes. I could not manage to feel stressed out when I felt, at every turn, that God was with me in this little moment of inconvenience. He worked out all the details and took care of us in what could have been a rough morning.
And then. The stink eye. Totally calling myself out here, but there was a sex in the city episode where Carrie is given "the FACE" by a friend of her ex-boyfriend. While I was standing in the parking lot, trying to keep my kids from getting hit (we didn't have a phone so I couldn't go inside and Ross was in a massive hurry so he couldn't come fetch us from inside), a 20 something girl and her mom tried to pull in next to us. It took me a minute to move the carseat, the grocery cart MK was still sitting in and our bags. She was visibly peeved at this oh so massive inconvenience so when she got out of the car, I simply said, "I'm sorry. I got locked out of the car and am trying to stay out of the middle of the road." No joke, meanie 20 something rolled her eyes and said "well, it's a good thing your baby is so cute" and huffed off. I don't know why bratty 20 something girl bothered me so much but she did. Why did she have to be so mean? She was driving a luxury car and seemed very healthy, capable of parking 2 spots farther so as to avoid woman holding 3 month old and shielding cart with toddler. And then after my explanation, to still be so blatantly rude. I got in the newly unlocked car and took a deep breath. I wrote her a note (a relatively kind, Christian-like note but still, a note), put in on her luxury dashboard and tried not to let her meanness negate all the goodness that had come our way just minutes prior.
Trying to ignore how this hurt my feelings, I thought about all the people who endure a much worse version of this unkindness everyday. People who are addicted, homeless, mentally ill, physically handicapped, socially awkward, they all suffer this kind of meanness all the time. My silly mean girl just pricked me with her rudeness unlike the full assault other people feel every day. It gave me something to pray about this week, including the hope that little mean girl might be compelled to show kindness the next time she is made aware of someone's rough day, even if it is insignificant, like mine was.
It also made me think of how hard it is to stay focused on the gifts, on gratitude. So many of us have read Ann Voskamp's, One Thousand Gifts. I was doing a great job seeing all the provision, all the graces until I was faced with some negative. Then it became difficult not to dwell on the one, tiny bit of negative, and let it overshadow all the good. Every single one of our days has bad parts and good. It's a discipline to choose to focus on the positive things. Even if the bad is really really bad and the good is just a little bit good (not true of today but sometimes, yes) , Ann Voskamp so eloquently reminds us that special graces come from recognizing, naming and pondering the good. All of a sudden the bad doesn't feel so bad. Nice reminder for me today!