Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Failure to Act--A Christmas Story with an Unhappy Ending

I had a significant opportunity to demonstrate everything I believe in last night--and I failed miserably.

After writing about the Christmas spirit and the time of year, when actually confronted with an opportunity to act--I was paralyzed by thinking about the consequences and let an opportunity to share God's love slip away.

The situation:

I'm standing in line at the local Safeway grocery store with two $25 gift cards to purchase for my office staff at work. I am not purchasing any food stuffs or other items. The lines are long and I'm in the 15 items or less line. The woman in front of me with 2 small children is buying $42.91 worth of groceries. The woman swipes her ATM card--it will not accept the transaction. Then after three different credit cards are swiped with the same result, I hear her tell the cashier--"I know I have a $100 on one of the cards." And seeing how the quick check-out line has grown while she was struggling with her cards, she runs off to the ATM machine.

I'm standing there, knowing I should do something but wondering how to do something and also being a little miffed about the delay in getting out of the store. I wondered if I would hurt her feelings. A random act of kindness was called for.

The reality of what happened:

So I did nothing--except feel sorry for the woman. I should have given her a Christmas present and paid for her groceries at the same time I was paying for my gift cards. I was buying presents after all and I was next in line. Then I could have whispered to her as she was fighting with the ATM as I walked by that her groceries were paid for, just go back and get them.

But I didn't. I could have been a point of light in the darkness--but I wasn't.

Next time---

God has impressed on me that I was given an opportunity and came up short. I've asked for forgiveness for my selfish reaction to a sister in need. I have resolved not to let it happen again. Since I believe that I am one of the points of lights, a true child of God living in this world and I need to start acting like it.

So here's my Christmas advice for you--don't be paralyzed by the "I wonder if I should. . ." phrase when confronted with the opportunity to act like you believe.

Merry Christmas!

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