Orange Juice, Please

I just returned from a last minute Christmas Eve run to the grocery store. I didn’t need anything major, just a few baking supplies. I promised my daughter I would bring Tres Leche cake for Christmas dinner tomorrow and the bakery where I buy it was sold out. So I’m baking it myself. And hoping and praying it turns out okay. (I’m also making fudge as a back-up plan.)

After waiting in a long, impatient line to check out at the grocery store, I finally arrived at my destination. I’d read the front cover of every magazine and gossip rag stacked neatly on the end cap so it came as a relief that I wouldn’t be forced to pick one up and peruse the inside pages out of boredom.

My basket was unloaded. Items stacked neatly on the counter according to product type – refrigerated products in one stack, cans in another, boxed goods before fresh veggies. Yes, my grocery store baggers love me.

The woman in front of me had trouble processing her card. I admit I thought she was trying to camouflage a low bank account. Been there, done that. She wasn’t. By the time, the manager finished manually ringing her groceries, they determined there was a problem with the card processor. “Are you paying credit or debit?” they asked. I nodded.

Another ten minutes passed as they removed the card processor, unscrewed the back and tried to figure out where the short might be. No less than five people apologized to me for the inconvenience. No less than five people were amazed and gratified when I said, “No problem. It’s not your fault. Things happen.”

The disgruntled customers behind me began to dissipate and move to other lines, mumbling incoherent blasphemies under their breath. And I was suddenly reminded of a line I heard once from a motivational speaker. Dr. Wayne Dyer, I believe but don’t quote me on that.

To paraphrase – What happens when you squeeze an orange? What comes out? The unanimous answer is orange juice. Because that’s what’s inside. People are the same. If we are filled with love and peace, even when squeezed, that’s what comes out. If we are hiding a churning mass of anxiety, bitterness and anger under a happy façade, that’s what will spill out when squeezed.

I was happy today when I got squeezed and good stuff came out. I think those who were trying to resolve an unforeseen challenge appreciated it.

Merry Christmas – and Happy Holidays to one and all.

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