Wednesday, January 28, 2015

life lesson from the check-out line

A while back, I was in line at Wal-Mart. I was in the express line, picking up something in between classes way back when I was working towards Medical Physics (or not so long ago...I guess it just seems like my many different educational paths should be more spread out than they are). There was an older gentleman in front of me, actually having a conversation with the cashier.

Having worked as a Wal-Mart cashier, I can tell you that someone carrying on a conversation with the cashier is a pretty rare occurrence.

I don't know what they were talking about; I was trying not to eavesdrop despite how much I like to people watch. I like to call it research for writing--it sounds a lot less creepy when I put it that way. Before he paid his bill, though, he turned to me. He told me that he had always lived a very fulfilling life, and he said that the reason for that was in his two hands. I could tell he was leading up to something, and I wasn't in a hurry so I bit: "What's the reason?"

"Hold your hands up like this," he said, putting both hands up in front of him. I did what he asked. There was nobody in line behind me, and I was curious. The cashier had a knowing look on her face, so I imagine she had gotten his life lesson in the past. She just smiled and watched as he went on.

His voice was slightly accented, though I couldn't place where he might have been from originally. He reached out with one life-worn hand and grabbed the tip of each finger, one at a time, assigning one word to each one:
If
   it
      is
         to
            be,
      it
         is
            up
               to
                  me.
"I say that every morning when I get up, as a reminder to myself," he said, then wished me and the cashier both a good day and went on his way.

His words have stuck with me, though I've tweaked the meaning a bit. I'm reminded of the picture we have in our living room:
Two hands, Adam reaching out to touch the hand of God while God reaches back. When I see that picture, I think of that man's words and the reason he said he had lived a fulfilling life. I see that my hands have to be active, reaching out. If I want something to happen, I need to take action to make it happen. Most importantly, though, I need to be reaching out to God. Because
if
   it
      is
         to
            be,
   it
      is
         up
            to
               Him.

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy