I read this on one of the yahoo groups I am part of. It's a good reminder this Advent Season to think of others instead of ourselves.The Empty Basket
On March 9, 2007, I was in the supermarket in a rush to pick up six items I needed.
In a hurry, I enter the express lane; in front of me is a woman with one item, a bag of four pears. The cashier weighs them and the price comes up on the register. The woman looks at the price and questions the cashier because she had weighed them at the produce section and they weighed under a pound; here the pears weighed 1.44 pounds. The woman does not know what to do and just stands there. I am now getting agitated because at this point it appears she is giving the cashier a hard time over this minute item. The cashier again showed her the weight and price and asked her if shew anted to call the head cashier. She hesitated, just standing there. Finally in a harsh voice I said, "What IS the problem?" She said, "I need four pears to feed four people." At this point, I just wanted to cash out and leave so I told the cashier, "I will pay her bill" and took out cash from my wallet and paid the cashier. The woman said "No, I can't let you do that; I'm so embarrassed." I told her, "That's OK, I will pay the bill for you." She thanked me and when she was about to leave, she said, "Now I have enough to pay for my tea." She turned and left with her little bag of pears - fading out of sight.
I paid for my six items, got into my car and as I was starting to drive away, it all sank in. There it was; I didn't even see it. It became apparent to me, this woman did not have enough money to pay for what little she needed. All she had was one dollar. The pears were 99 cents a pound. While I was waiting in line for this woman in her indecision, she was looking at the items I was going to purchase. I now see she wished she could afford some of the groceries I had in my basket. There amongst them, was a box of tea that cost one dollar. I heard a voice in my heart, replaying what she had said, "Now I have enough to pay for my tea."
I saw this woman, but didn't see her. Where was I, not to see her dilemma? What was I thinking? On this day my compassionate heart failed me: I was too concerned and preoccupied with my own self. I should have done more, but didn't. I should have and would have - bu my impatience blinded my patience. A woman needed a loaf, and I gave her crumbs. An empty basket that could have been filled, but I was too busy filling my own basket instead of another.
n the days and weeks to follow, one word highlighted my thoughts: PATIENCE. How many times has this happened to others: caught in line, behind someone with some type of problem, something to detain us from our destination? What is it that makes us so impatient, so important, that we shut out those around us in need? I am very sad how this happened to me, but like a thief in the night, it found me, in an unguarded moment.
Each moment we have, possesses excitement to the next; each breath forecasts the potential for great things, great openings. For it is the hope of today which hangs for tomorrow. Every moment is a gift to the heart and soul, to excel in goodness and
grace. It is in St. Mark 6: 35 - 44, we find Jesus with such a dilemma, to feed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. It is here after the Lord’s blessing, the five loaves and two fish are distributed among the five thousand people — feeding all. After they had eaten, twelve baskets of scraps of bread and pieces of fish were collected.
My prayer is to find this woman again, or someone like her, to offer my assistance to fill an empty basket, an empty heart, an empty life of despair. I will wait for her, and with patience, I will find her. For what I have, is not what I need — but the need that I have, is to fill an empty basket.
Robert J. Varrick
June 29, 2007