Tonight I was served a warm slice of pie… humble pie. The kind that makes you mentally smack your palm on your head and exclaim “Doh!” like Homer Simpson. And then groan in horror about what a terrible person you really are down deep.

To set the stage, I will say that I’m feeling particularly stressed and a little worried about the coming holidays rather than overwhelmingly excited. It had been a long and usual day at work and I felt restless and anxious in the house waiting for Ryan to get home from work. I just had to get out. But where? After pacing around for several minutes, I headed out, in the cold, dark rain, to Target to pick up a few things for the house.

Upon arriving in the parking lot, at what I affectionately call Target North, just a mere mile or two from our house, it set in that the holidays are upon us, and not in the good way. The parking lot was crazed! Cars and carts everywhere, no rhyme or reason and no courtesy. After failing to find a decent spot after several minutes since it was raining, I resigned to head out to the boonies and just walk in the rain. Visibly frustrated I choose a row and a spot and was met by a huge white truck with bright lights shining in my eyes. He makes a wide turn to claim the spot that I had my eye on. I mentally curse him and then mumble something out loud. He stops and waves me to go by. I can’t. It’s too tight and he already is headed for the spot I want. And now, I can’t get by him to the spots on the other side. I hurriedly wave him back to go ahead and park. He does not and waits for me. Waves again. Frustrated, I carefully drive around him, mumbling and grunting along as I proceed another 5 spots away, park quickly, slam my door and start walking to the store. I’m frustrated thinking that I’m just not ready for this whole holiday thing.  I don’t know why, but I think he’s a jerk.

To my horror, the man steps out of his truck just as I’m passing by. We exchange glances… and he opens his mouth and I’m just hoping he’s not going to curse me too. Instead…

Him: Hey, sorry about that. It’s just that there are all these carts in the spots and I couldn’t see. I wanted you to go ahead of me.

Me: Oh…. Uh, no no. Thank you. That was very kind. I was just having a hard time seeing the lines with the wet roads.

Him: Yeah. It’s wet out. Finally feeling like winter huh? So, how is your day going?

Me: Oh, pretty good. I guess. I’m just glad for a holiday and some time off. I’m ready for Thanksgiving. (Nervous laughter)

Him: Yeah. Can you believe it’s Thanksgiving already? Now all the stores are all about Christmas and we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving.

Me: I know what you mean. Time flies already and they just seem to push it faster.

Him: Well, have a great night.

Me: Yeah. Thank you. You too… and Happy Thanksgiving

Him: Yes. Happy Thanksgiving.

Ugghhhhhhhh! I really am a jerk, aren’t I? Here I am cursing a perfect stranger, thinking he’s giant jerk, for what? Taking a parking spot I wanted? That he pretty much had fair game of… I was ashamed of myself. And, completely touched that a perfect stranger would be so kind and that in 2 minutes, could have such a nice conversation with me.

HUMBLE PIE:  to apologize and face humiliation for a serious error.
And I am sorry. Sorry to have been in such a hurry as to not consider others. Sorry to have been so selfish and so frusrated with my own circumstances as to almost miss a wonderful moment with a stranger. But I’m thankful too. Thankful to be served a cup of grace from that stranger, who likely didn’t even know what was going on in my head. I’m thankful to him for opening my eyes to the holiday season unfolding around me and that I could definitely pass along the grace he granted me.

Thank you stranger. You blessed me tonight.

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