I was in line at the H.E.B. checkout and an elderly gentleman in front of me pulled out a checkbook. I just sighed. The other lanes were packed full, and I wasn’t in that big of a hurry, so I stayed where I was. I sighed again, trying not to be too obvious about it.
Then I remembered when I worked at Harber’s Grocery back in 1974 and every customer either wrote a check or paid cash. No one ever seemed to mind the time it took to fill out a check by hand.
I admit that after a whole three minutes had passed I got impatient with the check writer. When he was finally done and the cashier started scanning my groceries I inserted my debit card into the card reader thanking the technological gods for the convenience. Then I got a beep from the card reader saying it’s a bad read. I removed the card, reinserted it making sure the chip was facing the right way (because that’s the awesome technology of the day) and again I got a bad read. The cashier suggested swiping the card. I tried that.
The reader screen said to please insert my card.
By this time the elderly gentleman had probably left the store, loaded his car, stopped at Wendy’s and paid for his meal with another check.
The cashier came across an item that didn’t want to scan so while she’s on the loudspeaker asking for assistance, she told me to reinsert the card, and I’m rewarded with a message that tells me to enter my PIN. Hooray! Progress!
While we’re waiting for the price check, I see the lady in line behind me glaring at me. She sighed. I sighed. The cashier sighed.
A tiny little H.E.B. employee who looked like she was all of twelve years old told the cashier the price of the rogue item. I got my groceries and my receipt and pushed my wobbly-wheeled cart out to the parking lot and my truck.
We get used to doing things a certain way. Sometimes we are forced to make a change. Other times we can ignore the change and keep doing things the way we have done them forever.
Traffic lights now tell us to use caution when making a left turn through an intersection.
We were warned by some futurists that technology would be our undoing.
Remember when we were warned against drunk drivers? Now it’s texting.
Remember when you had to learn to parallel park? Now your car does it for you.
Change is inevitable. It can be resisted, accepted, or improved upon, but it’s always there.
Grief will change your life for you. The only choice you have when it strikes is how you’re going to handle it. It took me a while to figure that out after Bryan was killed. The Hornet’s Nest Movie helped me figure out the dream that I’d had about Bryan. I made a choice to honor Bryan in any way possible, but to do that I had to change my life from one of crushing grief to one of uplifting honor and respect. I did not do that alone. Beth was utmost in helping me change. In the following months and years, we found hundreds of friends that would help us continue navigating through the traffic on the highway of grief.
When a person volunteers for the armed forces, some call that writing a blank check. There’s a quote that goes; “A veteran is someone who wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life.”
Far too many of our sons and daughters have willingly written that check.
For those Americans who have not suffered the tragic loss of a son or daughter in service to our country, please be patient with those of us who have. It takes us a while to adapt to that change.