Ever had a weird encounter at the grocery store? This morning I was at the grocer’s early to avoid the crowds. I was making my way down the canned goods aisle, and there was only one other person there, a slender woman in a cotton dress coming toward me. I smiled at her and she frowned. As her cart passed mine, her left arm shot out right behind my head. My first impression was that she was in a hurry to grab something off the shelf I was passing. But no, her cart never stopped. What the heck is she doing, I wondered. It’s almost as if she was pretending to punch me. How odd.
Several aisles later, our paths crossed again. This time it was the row with flour, sugar, and baking supplies. I was looking at the muffin mixes when she passed. She said, you little bitch, and kept going. That stopped me in my tracks. I hadn’t taken anyone’s desired parking slot, cut in front of anyone to get in the front door, taken the last “10 for $10” item on the shelf, or rammed anyone’s shopping cart. I briefly considered asking her what I had done to elicit such treatment, but thought better of it.
Maybe her husband just left her, or she lost her job, or a friend betrayed her. Or maybe she has a mental condition that causes her to misinterpret facial expressions. Maybe I look identical to someone who’s hurt her. So she lashed out, and I happened to be the unlucky recipient. There was no point in striking back at her. Striking back just makes people even more angry. What the lady needed was the love and peace of Jesus, but she didn’t seem to be in a frame of mind to consider it. How sad.