…Buddha, Beelzebub, God, Allah, or whatever you call your higher power, it remains the power of an instant to realize the true importance of what matters in life and in your own individual existence on this spinning blue orb.
Yesterday I had to suffer through a dilemma of sorts, something that has plagued my mind for months now, something that gnawed at me during the night, eating away the hours of slumber; wide-eyed at 1am, then 2:20, then 3:45, then…well, you get the gist.
It was something that I do not care to go into any detail. Suffice it to say it played a huge part in our financial situation, something that should not have played out as it did at all.
There. I will leave it at that. I will add, though, that whatever ‘it’ was—and is—still preys upon my mind, at times oppressive and consuming, and all thoughts eventually lead to my sense of self-worth, my self-esteem, my own existence here and now, wondering what in hell to do. The mental anguish, the myriad of unanswered questions, the inner turmoil, the sense of hopelessness that, at times, rears its unwanted and hideous visage into my consciousness.
All this was renting space in my head as I returned from this ordeal in western Mass, heading east to home. But before ensconcing myself in my house, errands remained essential. After a bout of dodging ponderous pachyderms as they plodded along the corridors of Walmart, hunched over squeaky-wheeled carriages, I had to pop into the supermarket for a few items.
It was there that I witnessed humanity, how grand life is outside your own self-pity, your own self-wallowing, beyond what you perceive as life itself massed against you.
I got my groceries and, normally, I go to the self check-out lane, not wishing to spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for a bona fide human to ring me up.
But this time, given my trials out west, I opted to stay in line and wait for the cashier. I placed my groceries on the belt, and waited for the couple in front of me to finish with their purchase.
It was then that I noticed for the first time who the cashier was, someone that I knew from being a customer at the place I worked at, a kind older woman who, in the past, had confided to me her own financial difficulties.
My immediate thought was to collect my items and go to the self check-out registers. But I hesitated. I told myself, no, I’m going to stay right here and talk with this kind woman.
When the customers in front left, I chatted with her, asking how she was doing. She hesitated, with tears in her eyes, and proceeded to tell me how drained she was: physically, mentally, spiritually. I inquired as to what was wrong. She said that her son, 47 years old, had lost everything and she was sure he was about to commit suicide.
It seems he had indulged in drugs and alcohol, was now behind bars, his wife was leaving him after almost 20 years together, that he has nothing left to his name, is hooked up to a house monitor and, as she said, was sure he had nothing to live for and will soon take his own life.
During all this outpouring, I stood there and listened and thought about how utterly trivial my own plight was, how minuscule it was compared to her own story, of many stories out there; the horrific hurricane that decimated Puerto Rico, the conflagration in California, the myriad of problems all over the United States—the entire world.
What right did I have feeling sorry for myself, how pathetic it was in the grand scheme of human suffering? Jesus. After she rung me up, I walked around the register and gave her a long, lingering hug, wishing her well, sending both her and her son white light for healing as she trembled within my embrace.
Before I left, I told her there must have been a reason why I was in her line, instead of the self check- out, and I believe that. It was to make me realize that, despite my inward worry and stress, there are always many more worse off than me. That is what I told her; there was that reason I was there, at that moment in time, to give her a semblance of comfort, to perhaps provide a tiny portion of calm to a soul so troubled.
I left the store with my groceries, made my way to my truck, and thought how lucky I was—am—to not have to go through such anguish. It put things in perspective.
There are—always—others who suffer more in ways we cannot possibly fathom. The experience taught me a lesson.
I thought I’d share this with you.
©Paul Grignon – 2017