March 21, 2021
Fresh bagels, a Sunday tradition for my family, got me up and on the road before daylight this morning. With visions of gluten filled carbs dancing in my head I parked and floated toward the door. I had the shop all to myself: just two workers and me! Eager to make my selection, I prepared to drool over the possible choices. The rows of bins, designating the various flavors of bagels was all but empty, sans 3 sesame seed and 4 grossly overdone plain. Greeting the worker with my biggest eye-squint (my invention of how to convey a smile under a double mask), I offered a hardy “Good morning!” I asked when the next batch of plain bagels would be ready, as I would like a dozen. She motioned to the pitiful bin and growled, “This is what we got.” I mentioned that not only were there not enough but that they were a tad over baked for my taste. (I specifically used those words as not to offend). I repeated my question about how long it may be before the next batch would be ready. “I don’t know”, she snarled and walked away. Giving my best dog impersonation, head tilted and trying to comprehend not only the words but the vitriol that came out of her mouth, I just stared at her for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually, I managed to mutter a thank you and confusedly walked back to my car.
The shock and confusion of her remark and lack of customer service began to wear off and I descended into feeling angry, slighted, disrespected and indignant. I thought of marching back in there and letting her know how I felt. Instead, I drove home bagel-less but carrying a huge bag of injured pride and self-pity.
Still steaming over the perceived injustice, I walked by a mirror and noticed I was wearing a baseball cap that said LOVE across the front. Ouch. I was immediately humbled by the dichotomy of what my hat portrayed and what my feelings were projecting. I profess love but spew hatred and self aggrandizement. How dare someone treat me that way. Okay, seriously Randi, where is it written that people are required to treat you according to your rules? In other words, who do you think you are that others are required to stroke your ego? Maybe the bagels were burned because that worker had a very difficult morning with the ovens and she was doing all she could to keep from quitting her job? Where the bagel bins were empty, my compassion bin appeared to be empty as well. Do I demand understanding and grace from others but withhold it in reverse?
I may have left that store without bagels this morning, but my realization and my comeuppance has hopefully provided me with much more than a full tummy. In the words of Joel Hemphill, “He’s still working on me.”
God, thank you for giving me opportunities to burn away the dross on my heart. Much like plaque on my teeth, help me to remember that I must continually bring my thoughts and feelings to you for cleansing and refreshing. Love, compassion and kindness are priceless gifts that we have at our disposal to spread like butter agross the bagels of our lives. It’s the yeast we can do!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2