Last night, before going home I went and bought some flowers for my wife. I used to get her flowers quite a bit, but as floral shops continued to charge more and more, we struck a compromise that I could get her flowers, but she would prefer I purchase them from the more affordable supermarket.
So after work, I jaunted through the cold up to the nearby store to get something that would surely warm the heart.
After making my selection, I got in line to pay, and waited. It was a long wait, and just before it was my turn to get the flowers scanned and pay, the clerk asked me if I would extend the little rope across his aisle barring the path. He turned off his #6 lane sign, meaning I was his last customer of the day. He scanned the flowers I had picked, and then said, “You know what? We have much nicer bags than this over in the floral department. I’ll be right back.”
He scuttled off with my flowers and a plan, and upon returning, sure enough, the flowers looked better. I finished my transaction, and before leaving he offered, “You are doing the right thing, man.”
I was amazed. It was small-scale amazed, sure: not the stuff of volcanic eruptions or veterans returning home from war and surprising their loved ones. But sometimes it is through the bleak mundane haze of life, that make these slight amazements all the more wondrous, like a sweet, bright flower springing forth from a brown, sterile field.
And what amazed me is this: he was at the end of his shift. Finished. Done. I was at the end of mind too, ready to go home and wouldn’t have cared about the bag or known any difference. It was a status quo situation . . . you walk away, I’ll walk away sort of thing.
But he couldn’t abide that. He looked at the scenario and placed my own interests—interests I wasn’t even aware of!—before his own. Sure it was only five minutes, but it was that special five minutes at day’s end. That five minutes at a point when you’ve already given enough. That five minutes when there is something “better” to do. It was at that sacred moment, that moment he had earned. And he didn’t even think twice. He wanted to make my scenario better. He wanted to help me. He wanted to serve me. He wanted to treat me as he would want to be treated, and help me give my wife a better overall floral experience–without even knowing her, he wanted to enhance her existence, even on a micro level.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, he didn’t pat himself on the back at going the extra mile. Instead, he patted me on the back, “You are doing the right thing, man.” Along with serving me, he was encouraging me.
Totally unnecessary. Totally amazing. Totally love.
Jesus said that if someone wants me to go a mile with him, that I should go two. He says when a person wants my coat, to give him my shirt too. And He says this of my enemies. Surely, such advice is assumed for our friends or even strangers too?
Last night I tried to go an extra step for my wife—whom I love dearly—and a man was willing to go the extra mile for me without natural reason. That is the love of Christ, and I can echo his own sentiment back at that cashier: “You are doing the right thing, man.” Now, may we all go and do the same.