71. What We’re Going Through

71. What We’re Going Through

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness

What We’re Going Through

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.

~John Lubbock

I admit that I’ve gotten a little scatter-brained while going through this divorce. The blizzard of forms, selling one house, looking for another, packing up, uprooting—yes, I’ve definitely been addled of late. Which is why, in the express line of a store I rarely frequent, I was anything but speedy.

I handed the cashier a coupon for coffee I hadn’t bought; I slid my credit card into the machine the wrong way; I didn’t realize I had to push a debit/credit button, and although I pushed the “Accept” button twice, it refused to work until the cashier pushed it. A kind woman, she seemed to have all the time in the world for my ineptitude. But a theatrical sigh to my left told me someone else was less patient. I looked, and the woman in line behind me was rolling her eyes heavenward, a pained expression on a thin face that just missed being pretty.

I wish I had said something like, “I’m sorry I’m so slow. It’s one of those days,” and her smile made her beautiful as she responded, “Oh, believe me, I know how it goes.” Instead, I thought, “Sheesh, sister, give me a break. You don’t know what I’m going through.”

It wasn’t until I had dropped a glove, retrieved it, and was out the door that the thought struck me: I didn’t know what she was going through either. It was a revelation. I didn’t have a clue what was going on behind that respectable, if annoyed, facade. Most of us go through our days looking more or less normal even when our lives are in turmoil. A sick child, a job in jeopardy, a scary diagnosis, a foreclosed home, and, yes, a divorce… who knows what lurks behind someone’s outward appearance?

By the time I put my coffee-less bags into my car, I’d forgiven her, but moreover, I silently prayed that she would forgive my rush to judgment.

And it was then that I remembered something my dad said many, many years ago. “Cut them some slack, Sis.”

“Who?” I had asked.


~Kristine McGovern

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