I haven't worked retail in close to 15 years, but the idea of hanging out with other runners and spreading good running karma really appealed to me. And of course it's nice to get a great discount on gear (although I've yet to make any purchases!). Not in a million years did I think it would be challenging or life changing in any way. Until today.
You see, it's not uncommon for me to see butts (and I'm talking butt-holes here, not just cute pudgy buns) in my line of work as a mom, to wipe those butts and noses and change poopie diapers. I check to see if clothes are dirty or not with the smell test (NOT a good idea with undies, mind you!) and oftentimes forgo a shower so that my kids can get here and there on time. Yep, I do a lot of stuff I wouldn't have imagined doing in my younger years, but I don't think twice about it. And I certainly don't think of it as service.
Today I came to realize I need to adjust my thinking a bit. An older woman came into the store looking for a pair of shoes to walk in. She'd been walking in shoes with no support and was suffering the consequences. I watched her walk, looked at her shoes and brought out a few pairs for her to try on. Having recently turned 81, she typically uses a shoe horn to help get her shoes on and off. Since I couldn't find one (I didn't look very hard), I sat down on the floor to help her put on and take off several pairs of shoes. I usually shy away from touching other people's feet, but there was something wonderful about helping her try on shoes. Holding her feet and tying her shoes was truly a religious experience for me. I gently tightened the laces and adjusted the tongue on each pair and I felt like for the first time in a long time I was truly serving another person. I genuinely cared about this woman, she could have been my mom. I wanted to make sure she found a shoe that fit. Perfectly.
When she left the store I realized that we have opportunities to be extra kind and extra gentle every day. We just have to look for them. And this applies, perhaps most importantly, to how we treat our kids. We can wipe poop off butt cheeks gently and with humility. We can clean faces, comb hair and brush teeth the same.
Tomorrow morning, when the whining starts (and I know it will!), I will struggle to remember this... Remind me if you see me!