Today I ventured out for the first time to do a little Christmas shopping. I had been away in England last week and hadn’t really had a chance to get started until today. When I go out shopping during the holiday season, I expect it to be crowded, with long lines, and people rushing about. I have a choice about how I interpret and respond to all the activity, much like you do. I can choose to be frustrated by the crowds, or I can simply relax and enjoy the inevitable experience.
You know already where I am going with this, so I’ll just go there. While you are out and about, take the opportunity to experience the time. Watch the people, give an encouraging smile and a kind word to the harried people working behind the counters. I watched a man in a car in the mall parking lot today. He was behind an elderly woman who was slowly navigating the parking lot to find a parking spot. The man was visibly upset. He was in his car gesturing wildly, while the woman in front of him was oblivious to his pointless outbursts. As she turned and he then drove by her, he craned his neck sideways and then backwards so he could get a good look at her and let her know how displeased he was.
Of course, the woman remained oblivious and went merrily on her way. I got a good chuckle out of it as I watched this idiot behave badly, but I also felt a little sorry for him. He’s missing the whole thing. He’s sucked into the frantic commercialism that has become the Christmas season, and forgetting the that this is a time of spreading joy and sharing kindness.
Make a point of being kind and patient while you are out and about. It will make your time enjoyable and it might help some of the people around you too.