My heart resonated a loud YES, while my mind offered a quiet HMMMM.
Noticing a customer coming toward me, I waved at my register to indicate it was open, took my position, and got started.
Beep. The barcode of the first item scanned.
Eyes still locked on my screen to make sure I was doing this new task correctly, I asked my question of the day: “How was your holiday?”
The deep inhale on the other side of the counter made me look up from my screen—into the tear-filled eyes of an older woman.
“Oh dear. It looks like it was—hard,” I said, just loud enough for her to hear me.
She looked down for a moment, and that’s when I heard, Amanda, you still have to do your job. Keep scanning.
Noticing my slowed pace, a supervisor appeared to help me bag the items.
“Well, it was hard,” the customer started, her throat tight with emotion. “We lost my mom earlier this year, so it was our first—”
I looked up again, letting her know I was still with her: “Yeah, we lost my dad suddenly last year, and that first holiday season was brutal for everyone.”
She nodded, and I continued scanning items.
“Yeah, everyone really struggled to feel any cheer together. It was so sad…” She seemed to be searching for more words.
Now I nodded, “It’s like we feel guilty for feeling good when they can’t be here to feel good with us.”
Another deep inhale. “That’s it! I feel guilty!” It sounded like a revelation and I looked up in surprise as she continued, noticing that my supervisor had been startled to a stop, too. “I feel guilty for that reason and also because I’m kinda glad she’s gone. I mean, I miss her but that was no life she was living.”
“Oh yes, I felt the same way when my grandmother passed. It is bittersweet when they were suffering.” I paused, reflecting on my experience with grief in the last two years. “And if you were a caregiver in any way, that’s just another layer of bittersweet relief to work through, isn’t it?”
When I looked up, I saw a different woman. Her eyes still moist, she was smiling and looked about a hundred pounds lighter.
I smiled back as I scanned the last item and passed it to my supervisor, who was shaking her head as she was working.
I wonder what she’s thinking right now. I wondered to myself if I should tell them that I have an invisible sign on my head that says, “It’s safe to tell me your story,” even in a checkout line.
We completed the transaction, and the customer started toward the door and then turned back, “Thank you, Amanda.”
“All Love needs is YOU,” The Wind whispered in my ear as I watched her walk out of the store without the dark cloud she had brought into my line.
Maybe that’s why I’m here? I questioned the reason I landed in this part-time job again and then greeted the next customer.
So, here’s the thing. This customer was the first of a long line of customers that day and since that appear to be there only for groceries but end up sharing their story and experiencing a little healing moment during our short “transaction.”
Every time this happens, I shake my head (just like the supervisors who now love to bag for me!) and the insane events that led me to this part-time job.
When I told The Wind in 2013 that I would not move my work forward in a big way until I had healed the st*ry that kept nearly-destroying my finances, my health, and my relationships, I had no idea that some of the biggest final rewrites and rewires of that st*ry would happen behind a cash register at Whole Foods in another state.
And it all revolved around this idea: “All Love Needs Is YOU.”
Love doesn’t need me to grow a huge platform and break my income ceilings.
Love doesn’t need me to lose 50 lbs and get in the best shape of my life.
Love doesn’t need me to win the Wife or Mother of the Year Awards.
Love doesn’t need me to be a risk-taker or problem-solver, a spender or saver, etc.
Love doesn’t need me to go out and save the world with my message.
Love just needs ME.
And Love just needs YOU.
Love needs US.
With us, Love has eyes to see the glory of the world we live in, the souls behind the eyes of others, the evidence of Its intention for all…
With us, Love has ears that can listen to the sounds of nature, the hum of well-oiled machine, the belly laughter of a happy baby…
Love has a nose and mouth that can delight in dark chocolate, roses, and the sweet scents of loved ones—that can speak words of affirmation, empathy, and understanding—that can tell stories that will help our world heal and evolve…
With us, Love has hands to wipe away tears, make music and art, create and eat delicious meals with others, write stories that inspire…
With us, Love incarnates—it becomes flesh and dwells in the world to see it, to bless it, and to invite us to deeper and deeper experiences of LOVE.