When she thought she didn't have an ounce of strength left, God called on Maria Gallagher to exercise her virtue muscles.
It was one of those days when the word “tired” didn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. I was experiencing the kind of exhaustion I equate with the first precious weeks of parenthood, but minus the colicky baby. My to-do list seemed to be ever-expanding, yet I was sputtering like a sedan running on empty. I was living on fumes and, if truth be told, not feeling as if I were winning at life.
Still, duty called and I soldiered on. I had a shopping list of a couple of must-have items from a nearby department store. I figured, even in my beleaguered state, I could breeze in, pick up a new skillet and spaghetti pot, and breeze back out again. What I had not anticipated was a sale at said department store which brought with it some fairly determined shoppers.
I had not bothered to pick up a cart, so I lugged my housewares over to the line for the cash register — a line which snaked through the store, with each shopper maintaining the appropriate pandemic-required social distancing.
I never realized a skillet and spaghetti pot could seem so heavy, but I felt as if I were trying to carry Mt. Everest in one hand and Mt. Vesuvius in the other.
Just when I thought I could wait no longer, the woman in front of me left the line in search of a new item to add to her overflowing cart. “Yes! I thought. “I caught a break. I can now move up in line.”
But God had other ideas. A few minutes later the woman returned to reclaim her place in line.
It was apparent that the kind, compassionate thing to do was to let her back in line — after all, she was there first. But those mountains in my arms seemed so incredibly heavy, my fatigue was increasing, and my patience was razor-thin.
In that moment, I realized that God was handing me an opportunity for virtue. I was eager to get through the line and cross one more item off my to-do list, but the Lord had a superior plan.
And so I said, “Of course!” when the shopper with a heavier load than mine asked to be let back into line.
A similar epiphany for me occurred in a drive-thru line. I wanted to race through the line like a racecar driver, minus the souped-up stock car. The drive-thru had two lanes that merged into one once you placed your order. I glanced to my right and saw there was a car waiting patiently to merge. I did a quick conscience check, and decided I would allow the driver to the right to move ahead of me.
She seemed a bit surprised, but pleasantly pulled forward. Just then, I saw her license plate. It read, “PRAISE HIM.”
Coincidence? I think not.
It seemed to be another God moment, another opportunity to thank the Almighty for the chance to exercise my “virtue muscles.” They had admittedly grown a bit flabby from lack of frequent use.
Perhaps I wasn’t winning the game of life that day. After all, I was not coming in first in anything. But I believe I did learn something about the waiting game, and how, hidden within those tiring moments in line, opportunities for virtue abound.
Copyright 2021 Maria V. Gallagher
Image: Canva Pro
About the Author
Maria V. Gallagher spends her days advocating for women, children, and families. She is the mother of a beautiful ballerina and a member of the worldwide Cursillo movement. In her spare time, Maria likes to blog, walk, sing, dance, and fill the room with laughter. Read her work at MariaVGallagher.com.