It was just a quick run into Safeway
to buy sweet potatoes for a dinner side dish
and a Diet Coke for right now.
She was in the check out line behind me
talking loudly on her self phone,
having a dispute with someone,
She bought a Lunchable
and two bags of Reese’s pieces
and she was younger than me
but her face looked old and tired.
I thought to self, “Doesn’t she know there’s a proper place for private conversations and this isn’t one of them?”
Inside myself I was irritated at her.
Then she says, “We’ll talk more later” and hangs up the phone.
She glances at me and notices my 25th anniversary diamond from my husband and admires it.
I give her a polite fake smile, pay for my potatoes, and leave the store.
The next morning I’m brushing my teeth and it all comes back to me.
A Voice speaks to my heart about a hurting woman and a missed opportunity.
All I would have had to say is, “Looks like you’re going through a tough time.” and then listen.
But I was too full of self to notice, to care, to take the time.
This facing the truth about the darkness of my own heart and choosing to die to self isn’t easy.
Yet when I do shut off the constant
and think about and serve someone else
I am blessed…
I am happy.*
A self-focused life is a miserable life.