I've learned not to be offended with that sweet elderly auntie shoves past me in the grocery store or when my kind hearted neighbor throws her groceries on the cashier stand ahead of me. I just keep telling myself, "This isn't rude, it's culturally different." And sometimes, more often than I used to, I get kind of pushy myself.
The concept is reflected in everything from the traffic "rules" to the way you buy your pineapple. It's a communal culture, there is a flux and give to the shove. It is a way to stream 1.2 billion people through the streets, in and out of restaurants, stores and doctor's offices. It's better not to analyze it, just go with it.
But sometimes I get all American right in the midst of a shove.
That never works out well.
On Sunday, we were at the store to buy food for the 3rd round of guests for the weekend. Life was feeling busy. We were in a crowded shop. And all I wanted was to weigh my corn and potatoes and get out of there.
But when I finally got to the head of the shove-line, a smiling asian approached and thrust her vegetables ahead of me. The little clerk, being as asian as the rest, assented and took hers instead.
I lost my patience. My face turned red. My heart started pumping. And anger burst forth. In broken dialect I explained the concept of a "Que" to the still-smiling lady. She kept smiling. My blood pressure kept rising. And finally, I reached over and threw my bags of vegetables onto the weigh machine until she took hers off and the clerk accepted mine.
She was not at all flustered. I was undone.
By the time I got home, it was funny. But I was ashamed. Why let such a little thing, 2 extra minutes of my time, provoke me to anger? I felt, in my western outlook, that I was right. I was in front. It was my turn...in a country where people don't, and likely never will, 'take turns.'
It brought to mind this little tidbit I have often read in Prentiss's Stepping Heavenward. Hope you find it as gospel-orienting as I have.
4 Steps that Lead to Peace:
- Be desirous of doing the will of another, rather than thine own.
- Choose always to have less, rather than more.
- Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to every one.
- Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee.