A New Perspective
Several weeks ago Jon went to the store to buy some milk and cereal because we’d run out. He came home with a pained look on his face, and sat down on the couch with a heavy sigh. The grocery bags at his feet. I was about to berate him for not taking the bags into the kitchen, but the look on his face stopped me. It was the look of a man who’d been given a wake-up call. And before I could ask him if everything was ok, he proceeded to tell me about his shopping trip.
He’d gone in, put the things we needed into the cart, even adding a few items we didn’t need. He made his way to the front and got into a checkout line behind one other woman. As he loaded the conveyer belt with our groceries, he couldn’t help but notice the few items the woman had. A 1/2 gallon of milk, some bread, some other very basic items. As the checker rang up her groceries, the woman was counting out change. It soon became apparent to Jon that the woman was using every last penny to pay for the groceries. He even overheard the woman tell the cashier how bad she felt about raiding her children’s piggy banks that morning.
The total came up on the display and the woman’s face fell. It was more than what she had with her, and as she started making the decision about which items to take out of the bag, Jon leaned forward and gave her the rest of what she needed. She thanked him profusely, telling him that it would come back around, that he’d be blessed for that small gesture. She even went so far as to apologize for the circumstances that got her into this situation. None of which Jon wanted to hear, even telling her none of it mattered to him. She thanked him once more and out the door she went.
After he finished his story, he reached over and gave me a huge hug. “Jenn,” he said, “I forget how rich we really are…”
I don’t tell you this story to toot Jon’s horn or brag about something Jon did, because quite simply I have no doubt that many of us would have done the same in that situation. I share it because I have not stopped thinking about this story since it happened.
I can’t tell you how many times I resent the fact that our bank account balance isn’t higher… Or how anxious I get every time a new doctor’s bill shows up in our mailbox… Or how much easier our lives would be if we could just buy x, y, or z. There was one day in particular where I’d paid a hefty medical bill that resulted in draining most of our savings account. The anxiety washed over me and I can’t begin to describe the feelings of defeat that I felt. But then Jon’s story came to mind and in an instant a peace came over me.
I could continue focusing on the things we didn’t have and I will always end up feeling like I can’t measure up. Or I could focus on the things we have been blessed with and feel like one of the richest women in the world. And you know what? I am. We have full cupboards and fridge, we have a roof over our heads and place to lay our heads at night, we have running water and heat and room to run. We are so very rich.
Its amazing what a difference in perspective can do for the soul.