The Stranger at Walmart Who Taught Me a Lesson

Learning something newDeposit Photos

I’m not sure why this is but, over the years, I’ve had some of the best reminders of how I want to live life while standing in Walmart.  And, the reminders go beyond the obvious ones you might be thinking of like “Thou Shalt Not Kill” or “Love your neighbor”…although those are much needed reminders too sometimes.  🙂

My local store has this beautiful thing you might have discovered too, it’s called self check out. I love self check out. There are usually no lines and no delays. I can get in and out of the store faster when I opt to use this check out method.  Yesterday, as I finished up swiping the items in my cart, I noticed an elderly man using the machine next to me.  He had just alerted the attendant that he needed help.  I glanced at the few items he had remaining in his cart to ring up and realized it was exclusively fruits and vegetables. This made me smile. As I started to ask the man if I could help, the attendant showed up and guided the man through the procedure.

“Lord, I said to myself, I think there are two ways to grow older. May I choose to grow older this way.”

This moment reminded me of the first time I made the decision to go through the self check out with fruits and vegetables.  It was shortly after moving to this area last year.  For a few weeks, I deliberately avoided using the machines if I had any fruits or vegetables in my cart. I knew having to learn what I needed to do differently would slow the check out process. (There might be produce codes I needed to punch into the computer). I also knew I might need to ask someone for help. So, on these produce buying shopping trips, I opted to go through the normal registers and allow the cashier to ring me out.

Then one day, I was ready to learn.

Turns out, Walmart couldn’t have made it any easier.  You just set your broccoli on the scale, push “look up item”, find your item that’s on the page, and push the button. And, to make it completely idiot proof, they even have pictures of each item.

The older man I saw yesterday brought to mind my grandmother who passed away a couple of years ago at the age 92.  She spent the majority of her life terrified of trying new things. She never (I repeat never) would have ventured into the self-check out line at Walmart.

We all have a choice in this life as to what we allow fear to keep us from doing. I hope in 30 years, when I am faced with the unknown, I choose to be like the man I saw in the self-check out line yesterday.  I don’t want to retreat to the comfortable, to the safe, to the familiar.

It dawned up me again yesterday that in order be like the older man I saw yesterday, I have to live like that today.  My grandma didn’t just suddenly wake up one day afraid to step out her front door.  It took years and years of making choices that kept her on that path. It became a habit.  And, in many ways, it became her prison.

“Lord, help me to live like the old man I saw yesterday, making the choice to learn something new. Not in 30 years…but today…right now.

Have you ever shied away from learning something and then discovered it to be easy?

What “new” are you afraid of trying today?


5 thoughts on “The Stranger at Walmart Who Taught Me a Lesson

    1. Eileen Post author

      Hahaha! Thanks for the honest answer, Larry. We have different perspectives. I would do ANYTHING to get out of there quicker. 🙂

  1. Chris Monahan

    There a few places where I use self-serve … but much more often, I’m with Larry.
    I tend to live in a hurry to get the next thing, but have tried to teach myself (man I suck as a student or is it as a teacher) NOT to; to be in the moment.
    I have a very good friend who reminds me to ‘be the dog,’ because dogs don’t care about yesterday and don’t worry about tomorrow. They simply want to know what can I get in on … right NOW.
    Back to the subject and your question: My pastor preached last weekend about prayer and I heard (and realized) one thing I have not learned to do is pray with expectancy. I ask, but I don’t regularly expect God to come through, though I know He can. Guess I won’t be disappointed that way if He knows/sees better.
    Thanks for sharing your story … and thanks for the space to ramble a bit.

    1. Eileen Post author

      A good point about living in the moment, Chris. I struggle with that too. Your thoughts on expectancy reminded me of a thought I once blogged on about how I desire to live life. To “live expectantly without expectations.” There really is a difference. I’m much more at peace when I stay in that state…to be hopeFULL for what God can do without getting my hopes up for a particular outcome.

  2. David Rupert

    He probably has a Facebook account, goes Whitewater rafting, and tried that new Peruvian restaurant. I love trying new things, but find myself as I get older less willing to take the risk


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