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The wrong lens

August 2, 2011

The moment it happened I knew I would be blogging about it.  But what I didn’t realize is that my reasons for blogging about it weren’t what I originally thought.  My thinking was wrong.

I had a meeting in Destin tonight, and since I got off work at 5:00 pm I saw no reason to pay the toll to cross the bridge to go home, only to turn around in an hour and pay it again to come back…then pay it again to go home later.  I had an errand I could run, and so I decided I’d go ahead and risk missing that feeling of pressured frenzied panic for putting it off until later (yes, that was sarcasm).  I did my little chore and went looking for a bite of dinner.  Nothing sounded great so I just stopped into Subway for a sandwich.  If all else fails, Subway, you know?

There was a man and two little boys in line getting their sandwiches made.  I mistakenly got in the wrong end of the line.  The girl making the sandwiches glanced at me and said nothing.  The guy and the two boys said nothing.  I figured out my mistake and fixed it, but thought it odd that nobody was helpful enough to say “hey, this is where you wanna be”.  I waited my turn and then the sandwich maker turned to me.  She barely made eye contact.  She mumbled something that I could not hear.  There were three issues contributing to that: 1. She was soft-spoken, 2. The coolers/ice machines/fridges in that place were terribly loud, and 3. English was obviously not her first language.  Every time she’d say something to me, I’d have to ask her to repeat it.  I hoped she’d figure out that she needed to speak louder in order to communicate with me, but no such luck.  We finally got through the bread-meat-cheese part and she put the sandwich in the toaster since I wanted it hot.

Now, I have no idea how it happened, but when she pulled the sandwich out of the toaster, one of the two little slices of cheese had flipped over on top of the other slice and melted onto it.  More than half of my sandwich was cheese-less.  Not just a little area…more than half.  I hesitated.  Then I decided that if I was going to pay for a sandwich that is made in front of me, it wasn’t unreasonable to ask that the situation be remedied.  I smiled and politely and rather apologetically pointed out that half my sandwich no longer had cheese, and could that be fixed, please?  She glared at me and picked up a tiny paring knife and began stabbing at the top slice in order to try to flip it back into place.  However, it was now melted onto the other slice.  She poked the knife into the cheese and stretched it across the sandwich in a messy blob.  It was very clear that if she could get away with spitting on my sandwich, she would.  Though her attitude and method left much to be desired, I saw no reason to push it further since she had technically achieved what I had asked.  I thanked her and dropped it.  She finished my sandwich, I paid for it, and I went to find a place to eat it.

Honestly…how hard it is to smile and be pleasant and respectful to customers?  How difficult is it to serve politely and attempt to accommodate for reasonable needs, like speaking up for a customer who obviously cannot hear you?  She was rude and disinterested.  It was annoying.

I was thinking about this on my drive home tonight and suddenly I began to see it differently.  This is what comes from letting God sit in front seat of the van.  He starts saying stuff, and it wrecks my tidy self-contained world.  Because as I thought of her disinterest in serving customers, I clearly heard “she has no source of light to share”.  I thought of how bored and lifeless her eyes were.  She was not being paid to be nice.  She was being paid to make sandwiches.  The only reason she was making sandwiches was to get money.  She was not interested in serving me.  She was not interested in serving her employer.  She simply needed a paycheck, and if it weren’t for that, she wouldn’t be there.  There was nothing (and Nobody) in her worth the energy to share with me or anyone else.  She truly had given me what she had.  I had judged her for not caring and not trying.  That made about as much sense on my part as judging a paraplegic for jumping rope so poorly.

I had been polite to her.  I had thanked her.  But I failed to really see her, and in doing so I missed an opportunity to speak life to her.  She was a hired hand.  I am a bond servant with all the position and privilege of a royal daughter.  Guess which one of us served the most poorly.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 12:29 am


  2. August 3, 2011 9:51 am

    Awesome perspective….of course, it’s God’s perspective of people, so it’s gotta be awesome! Loved your blog…and loved even more that you allowed God to fill you with His compassion and His eyes for this woman!

  3. August 3, 2011 10:32 am

    that made me cry, thank you for sharing

  4. August 3, 2011 11:03 am

    Great insight, Lisa. We could all use a different lens, huh?

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