It was a Monday morning and the queue at the pharmacy was getting longer every minute.
When at last my turn came to be served, I was confident it would be a quick transaction. I was only there to collect a repeat of chronic medicine and my details were already on the computer.
A new assistant had joined the staff and she smiled politely as I gave her my name and address. After entering some data on the computer she asked my surname again. I repeated a little louder and slower this time. She was new and unfamiliar with the routines I thought. But when she asked my surname a third time, I could feel a growing sense of impatience. Was she not listening or concentrating? As if this wasn’t enough, she seemed to have some difficulty retrieving the information needed. Finally, she asked the pharmacist on duty for help. I marveled at the patience of this senior lady who was already working at top speed. I heard a few groans from behind me where the queue was by now trailing outside the door.
Then I noticed something. The new assistant was wearing a hearing aid This explained a lot. She was hard of hearing, nervous, and having to work under pressure. I could imagine how she felt – inadequate and insecure.
When I finally walked out with my package, I felt a sense of gratitude to God not to be “quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). Like most Christians, one of my daily prayer requests is to be led by the Holy Spirit. To be able to see people and situations as God sees them. I’m not usually a very observant person, but I’ve no doubt He opened my eyes that morning to see the small detail of the hearing aid.
Since that occasion, I have resolved to notice more about people – their facial expressions, whether they seem to be in a hurry or seem inclined to chat. With those I know, do they prefer a call or a WhatsApp message? If they mention problems, I learn to check up in a few days’ time.
That morning at the pharmacy turned out to be a valuable course correction for me.