Sunday, November 23, 2008

Waiting

A few weeks ago in Relief Society, our teacher shared with us the following story. It is taken from a journal entry on Children's Author, Kate DiCamillo's, web site. This particular journal entry is no longer found on the site (or anywhere on the web for that matter), but thankfully our teacher had the foresight to print it off.

This story is such that I felt it warrented the extra time for me to type it up. I have done my best to keep the same format, puncutation and wording as Kate DiCamillo. Any error here is mine. Hopefully, I have copied it right and you will enjoy it as much as I did. Such a wonderful life lesson here.

A journal entry taken from Kate DiCamillo’s web site

November 2006

I am one of those people who is always and forever in a hurry. I’m in a hurry even when there is absolutely no reason to be in a hurry. I’m embarrassed to admit that I exist in a perpetual state of impatience.

The other day, I was in line at the co-op and the woman ahead of me was not in a hurry.

She unloaded her basket item by item, gazing first at an onion, and then at a bag of granola and finally at a box of raisins as if these things were wondrous items, treasures that she had just unearthed; she handed the onion, the granola, the raisins to the cashier slowly, oh so slowly.

“Hurry up!” I wanted to scream, “Hurry, hurry!”

I shifted from foot to foot.

I checked the time.

I cast despairing and envious looks at the other lines.

The cashier announced the total. The woman slowly, very slowly, took out her check book. She began to write a check.

And then she stopped.

She laid down the pen.

“What now?” I wanted to scream.

“I can’t,” the woman said to the cashier.

“Um,” said the cashier.

“My mother died,” said the woman.

“Oh,” said the cashier. “I’m sorry.”

“Just now. She died just now. I mean not right now, not right this very minute, but an hour ago. Well, not exactly an hour ago, but within the hour.”

“Oh,” said the cashier. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” said the woman. “I mean it’s not okay. Of course it’s not okay. But she had Alzheimer’s. She was suffering. She had suffered for a long time. So it’s not a sad thing. But I feel so sad.” She picked up the pen. She looked down at the check. She shrugged her shoulders. She started to write again.

The cashier, without saying anything, reached out and put her hand on top of the woman’s hand. The woman stopped writing; she did not look up.

The cashier kept her hand on top of the woman’s hand for a long time; the two women held very still.

Outside, the world was flooded in late October light.

I stood in line.

I waited

3 comments:

Becky said...

Wow.

If this doesn't teach me the importance of living in the moment, I don't know what will.

Beautiful.

Erin said...

That was a really neat story. We don't know what is going on in people's heads as we walk by them, do we? I certainly need to be more patient.

threehappyhansens@yahoo.com said...

This is such a good reminder to not judge.
I love how compassionate the cashier was.