I was at Walmart, right in front near the checkouts and restrooms. Little Cutie-pa-tooty in the next lane was about six, jumping up and down in her flip-flops, with a pained and frantic look on her little face. Because there was a big yellow canvas cart in front of the door to the ladies’ room and even she knew what that meant.
As the cleaning lady came out to get something from the yellow cart, she didn’t appear particularly hurried or concerned. I guessed she was just following her schedule and the next thing was “maintenance to ladies’ restroom near checkouts.”
But it was noon – on a busy Friday. A time when we all think they need more checkers and open restrooms.
A time when everything should be ready – not getting ready.
I was tempted to go in and ask if it was okay for a little girl to use the bathroom, even if she wasn’t done cleaning. But I didn’t. And I watched several more women walk up to the door, stop abruptly, and walk away as casually as possible.
I was so anxious for that little one and wanted to fix it. And I was so annoyed at Walmart’s poor scheduling practices.
The third time the cleaner came out, I couldn’t resist. Are you almost finished?
She said very quietly, I’m done.
Whew! Cutie rushed in and all was well with the world.
Oh, thank goodness. I could finally relax.
I finished checking out, collected my purchases and walked past two employees talking at the Service Center. I heard one say, “Yeah, some lady threw up in there… twice!”
Oh good golly, Miss Molly.
No wonder the cleaning lady was working slowly, methodically. She wasn’t distracted or unconcerned at all. She was probably trying not to get sick herself. She was probably doing the very best she could under what is possibly the worst Ladies’ Restroom Maintenance Emergency. Ugh.
Nancy K. You know better. You’ve done this before and you know better.
You immediately went “there.”
There. The place where I know all about it and draw the completely wrong conclusion – in so many ways. The place where I’m righteously judgmental and indignant about the callousness of others. The place where I keep getting it wrong… but keep going back.
Jeepers creepers. And good golly. I keep going back!
I’m not the only one who returns to those places that are dark. The places where I’m blind and wrong. The places I swear I won’t revisit, only to find myself returning at the slightest provocation or difficult situation. You have places like that, don’t you? They are irresistible.
But, thank you, Jesus, for repeated and abundant forgiveness and grace. Thank you for gently reminding us that we don’t know it all and it’s not all about us. That we should be a little closer to Humility and a little quicker to share that abundant forgiveness and grace.
And when it comes to going There? We need to just say very quietly, “I’m done.”