Life Lesson at the Grocery Store

Life lessons are everywhere!  Recently I thought of a life lesson I had while spending time in England and wanted to share it with you.  Here is what happened.

Usually I do grocery shopping early in the day, but on this day I arrived at noon to discover the store packed with shoppers.  Putting a shopping basket on top of my little trolley (these handy multipurpose wheeled carts went everywhere with me) I headed into the melee grateful I was not trying to navigate a full-size grocery cart.  Every aisle was an experience in careful driving as people tried to pass each other without collision.  Some needed to stand and debate over a specific item causing traffic jams.  I passed several parties trying to do on-the-spot menu planning and, realizing they had passed the aisle they needed, were trying to turn around.  Others, looking harried, reduced their speed just enough to grab an item in a perfected swooping gesture as they wove their way between carts.  There were greetings between friends, but only in passing, as everyone tried to keep moving onto the next item from their list.  People’s faces wore expressions of irritation, frustration, and in a few cases, anger.  Many wore a ‘get me out of here” expression.  There were very few smiles.  Noise and confusion reigned.

In need of some scone therapy, I carefully maneuvered my trolley toward the freshly baked bread area (the best-smelling part of the store).  The bread shelves came in sight as I turned a corner and took a slightly wider aisle at the back of the store.  From where I stood I could easily view a number of people between myself and the bakery.  What struck me was how stressed everyone looked.  In the middle of the crowd, a father holding his young son’s hand (the child looked about 3 years old) looked down at his son, smiled, and began an attitude change by carefully dancing a jig.  The boy promptly followed his father’s movements, and the two of them started laughing as they did small jumps, jigs and dancing steps together.  They were aware of the shoppers around them and did not bump into anyone.  For several minutes they went into a world of their own.  Totally absorbed in their dance, they turned a difficult shopping scenario into a celebration of transformation.  I was captivated by what they were doing.  The atmosphere at the back of the store lightened up.

The people around them seemed to be divided into two attitude camps.  Some of the people around them maintained their stressed expressions.  Others noted what was happening and, with a knowing nod of their heads, gave a smile to the scene in front of them as they continued their shopping.  It was such a beautiful and poignant lesson in life choices and a needed reminder of the importance of attitude.  When life is noisy, hectic, and confusing, we can choose to lighten up and laugh as we dance.  Having tried both approaches at various times, I personally prefer dancing.  I will keep the image of father and son dancing in the middle of mayhem close by for the next time I’m feeling irritated about something I can’t control — like the weather that has become cold, dark and rainy in the last half hour.  Excuse me, I have a little dancing to do.

Until next time,  Sylvia

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