A Belated New Year’s Post

new year

I decided to postpone my New Year’s post a day because I was so absorbed in the posts of everyone else! Our family spent New Year’s Eve in Plymouth, MA at the John Carver Inn where we relaxed, the kids went swimming and then we had a nice dinner out. We came back to the hotel and watched the ball drop. We came home to the Christmas decorations needing to be taken down, the emergency snow storm groceries needing to be purchased and we were all just plain tired. I spent the evening reading all the blogs I follow and really taking in everyone’s goals for the new year. I decided my own post could wait.

I have a list of goals of course and if you listen to the podcast, you know my word for the year is “engage”. I’ve been practicing being engaged with others and it is really making a difference. I’m excited to see how being engaged with others will continue to be a blessing in the coming year. For me, being engaged means listening, really listening, to others. It means being interested in what other people are doing – asking questions and again, listening to the answer. It means paying attention. My trip to the grocery store yesterday was a lesson in grace and an example of engaging myself…

I went to the grocery store as soon as we returned home from Plymouth. It wasn’t all that busy which was surprising as the forecast for the snowstorm here over the next two days has us basically buried in snow. The deli line, however, was very slow. I took my number and stood in line with everyone else. There were two young men working the deli counter and truthfully, they were moving at the pace of turtles. My number was 60 and they were on number 55 after I had already been standing there for 10 minutes. I was standing next to an elderly man who was currently being waited on. I could feel my frustration rising at the slowness of the situation. I could feel my face betraying me as the heat rose in my cheeks. I tried not to look or sound exasperated but I almost couldn’t help it. The elderly man half turned to me twice and then turned away. I was thinking he must sense my aggravation and maybe he was letting me know in his way that yes, these two young men were really, really slow. I felt slightly vindicated but still ashamed at my own impatience.

When the elderly man’s order was complete, he looked at the young man helping him and he said, “Listen, I want to really thank you for being here today. Have a happy new year.”

Truly. I thought to myself, ‘Yes, that is the way it is done’. I immediately pulled myself together and took a minute to realize that these two young men no more wanted to be working on New Year’s day than I wanted to be standing there ordering pastrami. A lesson in grace, right there at Shaws Supermarket. The same young man waited on me several minutes later and I wished him a very happy new year. He returned the greeting with a wide smile.

Later I was in the greeting card aisle agonizing over birthday cards for a 14 year old girl and a 16 year old boy. The card selection in the grocery store is minimal. I was choosing cards for my kids to give their friends at parties on Saturday. Knowing that whatever cards I chose, they would be considered dumb was causing me stress. A different older man than the one I mentioned above, was also looking at cards. He, too, was having a hard time picking a card out. We both stood in silence, fumbling with cards for several minutes. I thought to myself that the task might be more pleasant if I ENGAGED the man. I said, “Slim pickings here today.” He laughed and agreed with me. All this lead to a brief conversation about his children and the age differences between them. It was a nice conversation and eased our anxiety over choosing cards. A conversation that would not have happened if I didn’t stay true to my word for the year. I encourage you to try engaging yourself. I think you’ll find it a most pleasant experience!

As for my list of 2014 goals, I think I’ll post them tomorrow. I also have pictures of some awesome Christmas gifts I received that I’d like to share.

I wish you all a beautiful 2014!

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3 comments on “A Belated New Year’s Post

  1. So I’m not the only one whose face betrays her impatience? I do tend to talk to people in line, to the chagrin and/or amusement of my family. I just enjoy hearing peoples’ stories.

    Happy New Year from your disengaged friend!

  2. When I was a kid I was always impatient and a bit mortified when my Mom struck up conversations with total strangers in line at the grocery store, or the clerk at the register. Now I find myself doing the same. It does make a difference when you are able to take a step outside of your own head and recognize others as human beings. I’m certainly not 100% at it–I still have a boatload of moments like you describe. But when I can catch myself and do what you did in the card aisle, it does make the day (or the annoying errand, or the wait in line) go a little better! Looking forward to hearing your goals–and thanks for this post. Very well written!

  3. Great word. And after having lived in MA and having worked at a Shaws (bagging groceries) I can picture the situation well. I must admit I am glad to see I am not the only one that gets impatient. I however can’t see you exhibiting anything but God’s grace.