I don’t know about you but I find myself “waiting” in lines quite often.
I guess I have to find a better way to deal with it because in my 55 years I don’t deal with it very well. I just gotta to get used to it!
Lines are plentiful, whether we are in traffic, store checkout lines and waiting to get into a special event.
I’m not very good at choosing the right lines.
The “right lines” of course, are the quickest and smoothest lines.
It does not matter if I’m at the grocery store, Target, the line to get hot dogs at the game, or the line to get in or out of a parking lot; I pick the wrong line.
There is an art and a science to this.
The science of ‘line-oligy” has, to this point in my life, eluded me.
If I pick the shortest line and get in it, then immediately something happens. A guy wants to pay with a check but doesn’t have his ID. A woman wants to pay the entire $7.38 in coins, while talking on their cell phone and trying to find a coupon in her purse.
Or, it’s a shift change and the employee has to change out the cash drawer with the new checker and she is in the process of telling the replacement every single detail of her day.
I also get caught up in line checking. I look to see where the guy next to me is and base my progress on how fast his line is moving. It never fails, my line goes into ‘slo-mo’, as the longer line begins to zip along like they were on a moving sidewalk. Even if I use the reverse logic and get into one of the longer lines, then of course it remains the longest line.
So, a few weeks ago, my wife and I went to IKEA. We had wonderful lunch there and just walked peacefully through the store looking at all of the neat ideas and deals that one finds there.
We had no place to be. Just a relaxing day together. It was wonderful.
Then we get to the checkout.
For all of IKEA’s great ideas, they still have not mastered the checkout line.
My wife, who is used to my impatience when it comes to waiting in line, usually finds a way to distract me or will slip away for a few minutes so she doesn’t have to hear or see me start the breakdown of my sanity that happens when I wait in line.
She thinks I don’t know she slips away intentionally to let me deal with waiting in that line alone.
But I am aware of her tactics.
As my wife stealthily slipped away yesterday I immediately start to stress out.
Now mind you, only a mere a few minutes earlier I was slowly strolling through the store like I didn’t have a care in the world.
“Why would you choose this line??” I think to myself. “It’s the longest one.”
I begin to glare at the cashier like I’m trying to force solve a calculus equation.
I act as if it is life or death and my blood pressure rises to the point that I start to see red and then my wife calmly comes back and reminds me that it really doesn’t matter and that I just need to relax.
The truth is… waiting in line is trivial. Most of the choices we make in life are trivial. Other choices are crucial to living the purpose for which we were created. There are monumental decisions like whom you will marry, where you will live and what you will pursue in life.
The choice of which line to check out of the store should not cause you heartache. But, I’ve noticed, that it’s the little decisions in life, like choosing the wrong line that most times cause the most stress.
So I came up with some things to ponder when I am in line to help relieve the stress and anxiety that I feel.
Five Things to Ponder While Waiting in Line.
1. Find something to be grateful for and think of ways to express it.
- Gratitude, when it’s genuine and expressed outwardly, changes perspective on most situations.
2. Look for someone you can encourage.
- There is no person who does not need encouragement. I need it often. Those who I think probably don’t need it, need it more than I realize.
3. Forgive someone.
- Is there someone I need to forgive? Are the “flagrant fouls” that people have contributed to me in life still there? Even if I’m not over the hurt, I can still attempt to keep my heart focused in the right direction. That direction is forgiveness.
4. Who do I need to say, “I love you” to?
- It reminds me to say, “I love you more often.” I don’t want people I care about to wonder if I love them. I don’t want people I love to have to try hard to remember the last time I told them.
5. What am I writing in today’s chapter of my story?
- Our life is a story. Our history has written a part of our story. What am I leaving behind on my journey? The decisions I make today of how I react to situations both write my present and future chapters of my story.
This is our one and only life. This one is the only one we get. What we do with our life matters. It matters to you, to those closest to you, and it matters to God.
So I ask myself, what decision do I need to make, to write the next chapter in my story? Is there a decision that will build my faith or my strength, and in doing so write a better life story?
I want to tell a better story of my future than the story of my past.
I may not ever eliminate my stress level when I choose the wrong line. But I am trying to focus on better things than my frustration.
How about you? Are you waiting in the same lines as me?
Let’s try to do better… let’s try to be better.
Something to ponder on… until next time.