Saturday, August 4, 2012


A thought that has been rolling around in my head for a while has finally taken a definitive shape:

There is no need to invite crazy into your life; crazy often enters in on its own.

This means all kinds of crazy…crazy-good, crazy-bad, simply C.R.A.Z.Y. Any kind of crazy.

Crazy, as I have experienced it, starts out as something normal and then suddenly takes a sharp turn when you least expect it.  The crazy I most often experience comes in brief encounters. And it is always, invariably, in a checkout lane.

Most recently, I was in line at Target, in the 10-items-or-less line. I like to choose those express lines whenever possible because the rule-follower in me likes to count the number of items in each person’s basket; then I like to bask in my righteous indignation when someone has exceeded the acceptable number of items. But I digress; this is about someone else’s crazy…not mine.

A person behind me in line was all shades of mad because the cashier ran out to the parking lot to give something to a customer who had forgotten it. Really? We’re going to be crazy-mad over a thoughtful act? I’m sorry that your life is so important that the extra minute you had to stand here in this line will just throw your entire schedule into a tizzy. I was completely unaware of the greatness standing right next to me.  Please forgive. And won’t you please go ahead of me? Much as I have enjoyed our time here together, I am ready for you to be out of my life.

I will say that I was proud of myself (pat, pat, pat) that I didn’t bite on the conversation she was attempting to drum up with me. I sensed that there wasn’t anything I could say which would help her see past the fury. I assumed that something else had happened in her day to cause her to be that angry over a kindness shown to someone else, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask. I wasn’t prepared for a possible tongue-lashing from a total stranger. And I didn’t want to fuel her fire by seeming to agree with her either.  So I kept quiet (a feat, some might say), said a silent prayer and moved on.

There have been other times in which I have freely engaged in chit-chat with other shoppers while we wait in line. It usually starts when I tell them how much I love the item they are getting ready to purchase, or when I rummage through my file to find a coupon for an item they have in their cart. Or a conversation might begin when I tell them that the item they are buying is on sale in a larger size for a lower price than the one they’re buying (yes, I am that annoying…though I try not to be. I’m simply trying to help everyone get the best deal for their money! I’m so underappreciated sometimes.) .

And every once in a while, in the midst of these conversations, total strangers pour out their hearts.  This is a completely different kind of crazy…crazy-amazing. I’ve heard many interesting life stories; tales of current events and past tragedies, all inter-woven with prayer requests to which the tellers struggle to put a voice. When those stories start tumbling out, I begin praying for the words to speak.  It’s humbling that God allows me to be His mouthpiece in those instances. To say to total strangers what (I pray!) God intends for them to hear…His personal message to them.  And while I still think these experiences are a little crazy, they are the kind of crazy I can live with.

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