Click here I don’t cry. Hmm… I don’t cry a lot. Hmm… I don’t cry in front of other people. Well, that’s not true either. I cry, a lot, and, sometimes, other people are around. And yet, I still get embarrassed when I have a meltdown. Why does it bother me so much when I lose it?
Saturday, at work, I had one of my more colossal moments. I work in a retail environment. The sales floor is a very public place to lose control. People notice things like a red nose, rivers of tears, and uncontrollable sobbing. The harder I tried to stop the tears, the redder my nose got. The redder my nose became, the harder it was to breathe. The harder it was to breathe, the more I shuttered trying to get air. It was horrible. It was humbling. It was humiliating.
The whole day was one monumental mistake. Woke up late, bad hair, and not enough coffee got the day started. I then snowballed the madness by not pressing hard enough on a bible during my first imprint of the day. After that we had several rude, upset, or angry customers right in a row. I work in a Christian store. Normally, our customers are sweet, spirit-filled individuals.
We specialize in bibles, books, and educational supplies. One of the things that people like us to do for them is imprint their name on their new bible. I like doing that, usually. I’m good at it, usually. I don’t make many mistakes, usually. Saturday was not a usual day.
Every time I got near the white hot machine that sears the names into the leather bindings of the bible, something happened. The plate was loose so the name was slightly crooked. I pressed too hard, I pressed too lightly, I messed up everything. This series of mess ups culminated when I put a name in the wrong place on a bible. The man wanted it vertically printed on the bible instead of the traditional horizontal print. He told me that, I wrote down the special instructions, and then I messed up. We gave him a special bookmark to pacify his anger, problem solved. You would think that after a careless accident like that I would be more careful and double check the next one a little closer, nope, not me!
I plowed ahead and drove right off that cliff of haughtiness. I misspelt the next customers name! I saw Lucas when I looked at the paper, but what was written was Lucus. He flipped out! This bible was going to his son in the army. I was a moron. An incompetent fool that he didn’t want touching his other bible he had up there for imprinting. He threw a very unchristian like fit at the customer service desk.
His wife apologized, we fixed the bible (easy fix changing and A to a U), and the crowd of people slowly dissipated. I remained in control of my emotions. Then a very pleasant woman who has missed the show from a few moments earlier came to my register. As she smiled sweetly and wished me a good day, I started to lose it. I knew I was doomed to a downpour when the next person in line smiled at me. I desperately came over the P.A. system and called for assistance, praying that my voice didn’t waver. My colleague had sensed what was about to occur and came rushing over from the bible section. I tucked my tail between my legs and fled to the restroom.
The Lord blessed me with a solitary environment for the next few minutes as I experienced a shoulder shuttering deluge of tears. It wasn’t a small trickle of remorse down my cheeks, it was a great “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, hysterically sobbing, ordeal. What is going on with me?!
I wanted to blame it on the customer for being so stupid that he spelled his Lucus like mucus. I wanted to blame it on the lack of coffee that morning, the lack of sleep the night before, the imprinting machine, my new contacts, my fluctuating hormone levels etc. etc. But what it came down to was me. I had gotten too confident which had led me to complacency, and then carelessness. I made the mistakes, no one else. I was embarrassed, humiliated, and very sorry.
It took a while for me to regain my composure. When I finally came out of the bathroom, I was no longer wearing make-up, my eyes were blood shot, and my nose was a bright beacon declaring to the world that I had been crying. I was a mess and I still had two hours left on my shift. Ugh! My coworker was kind enough not to make fun of my predicament and even said I looked fine (that statement made me wonder what I looked like the rest of the time if this could be considered fine).
I slogged through the rest of the shift miserable. I mistakenly thought I wouldn’t lose it again, but one of my associates called and told me not to take it personally. She had been there for the whole ordeal and left while I was in the restroom. Her kindness brought another small wave of sadness over me. I was a mess!
I really wanted to call and quit after my day of humiliation, but I have decided to stick it out. One bad day doesn’t make me a bad person, just human. I still feel a little chagrined at my reaction to the customer who yelled at me, but I understand his frustration. And it turns out that Lucus is a real name with a wonderful meaning, I googled it.
I guess I needed to be knocked on my keister to realize that I was walking towards arrogance again.
I think I have a tendency to do the same thing with my Christian walk. I assume everything is going well, that I have everything figured out. Then I get confident, then complacent, then careless. I let little things creep in that I shouldn’t. I watch a less than savory T.V. show, I curse at a driver, I skip a devotional. I justify each slip. Diligence lessens, laziness grows. Until I find myself sitting in a public restroom lamenting the choices I have made again.
I would love to say that this will never happen again, but I know better. I just hope that next time, I recognize the error in my arrogance a little sooner. I thank God for the good days that comfort me and the bad ones that help me grow and I pray for the wisdom that comes from both.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.