Tests

Extracting wheatgrass juice with a manual juic...

Extracting wheatgrass juice with a manual juicing machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the lunch break for the Non-violent Communication seminar, I was gifted with an opportunity to test my skills. I’m sure some part of me is very grateful for this test. I’m still trying to access that part of myself…the majority of me is just not quite convinced that it was necessary.

Before I experienced life through a wheat-free lens, lunches at conventions, seminars, airplanes, weddings, funerals, and such were often frustrating due to my vegetarianism (it sounds like an incurable disease, doesn’t it?). So many food providers are at a complete loss as to how to prepare a vegetarian meal that I came to dread those times in an otherwise lovely and stimulating experience. Now, it’s positively horrific.

On the one hand, I’m very grateful that lunch was available on-site. I’m also very grateful that there were salads available. I’m not quite so grateful that none of the salads were vegetarian.

I’m so not kidding.

But, I am grateful that there was a vegetarian option. I’m not quite so grateful that it was a sandwich…made with wheat-based bread…and without a salad. Seriously. I was very proud of myself for saying politely that, while the sandwich looked delicious, I couldn’t eat it, but thanks for providing it anyhow.

I know! At times, this transformation thing really comes through in magnificent ways.

 So, I drive away to the nearest health-food store to get a gluten-free sandwich and a freshly juiced drink. Alas. It is a beautiful Saturday, and everyone has the same brilliant idea to go to the beach, so the freeway is crowded…and slow. At this point, my irritation  escalates. I start my pity party around not being able to eat wheat and sulk that no one even considers people like me and now the freeway is clogged with stupid people keeping me from my sandwich that will most likely be dry and tasteless.

I know. The transformation thing didn’t last long.

By the time I get to the health-food store, I’m grumpy and quite annoyed. I breathe deeply, looking for that gratitude spot that such a store exists, and that the possibility for a gluten-free lunch also exists. Humph! I think. Possibilities, my a$$! This should be mainstream! If it’s bad for me, it’s bad for everyone else (Isn’t there a saying somewhere that misery loves company? I think I invented it.).

I wait until I’m calmer before walking into the store. I approach the deli counter and ask if they have gluten-free bread. They nod…quite bored with the question. I fairly dance with joy and proclaim them my new best friends. I place my sandwich and juice order and wait. And wait. And wait. Ten minutes later (I timed it), my sandwich is ready. I pay for it and the juiced drink, trusting that it will show up at any moment, as the juicer is whining away…as it has been for the past 10 minutes without much to show for it. I wait five more minutes and ask about my drink. They then realize that the drink order has been lost. I realize I’m out of time and have to leave.

“Don’t worry about it,” I say, “I can’t wait. I have to leave.”

I didn’t raise my voice or express irritation. Once again, transformation popped back in momentarily.

As I walk to my car, however, the injustice of the situation riles me all up. The line at the register was so long, that I didn’t even have time to get a refund on my drink. All because I couldn’t eat wheat!!!! Stupid wheat.

On the drive back to the seminar, I try to use the self-empathy tools to calm my spirit and body down. The sulking returns and I find myself vowing to never go back to that store again.

However, I hear a voice tell me, “If you go back after the seminar is over, you’ll get your drink without paying extra.”

I’m not sure I heard correctly, so I ask, “Really?!”

“Go back after the seminar ends today. It’s important that you do this.”

“We’ll see,” I reply.

After the seminar finishes for the day, I debate whether I should go back to the store. If I do, I could get lunch for the next day’s seminar-lunch and be super prepared. I hear again that it’s very important that I go back, so I reluctantly agree to return.

As I drive, the same voice asks me if I can now feel empathy for those behind the counter. I begrudgingly admit that it’s slightly possible that there had been a lunch rush…that someone may be having a bad day…that maybe someone wasn’t feeling well…that they may have run out of ingredients and had to go to the stock room to refill, slowing down the process…that a shift had changed and communication may have failed.

I am instructed to stay in this space of empathy as I walk back into the store. I am also instructed not to bring up the drink…to just order my lunch for tomorrow and watch what happens.

I do as I’m told. As I approach the counter, the drink guy from lunch is the only one behind the counter. He asks me what I would like. As I ask for a salad, he says, “I’m really sorry about what happened with your drink earlier today.”

I look up in complete surprise.

“It was you, wasn’t it?”

I know the shock is all over my face. “Yes!” I reply “It was!”

“I’m so sorry,” he repeats.

“Thank you,” I reply, “but please don’t worry about it. I imagine you had a lunch rush and things got a bit confused. I had an appointment and couldn’t wait, that’s all.”

Relief floods his face, and I realize that this person looks ill…like he needs to be in bed eating chicken soup. In that moment, I remember what it’s like to have to work when sick because I can’t afford to lose the income due to the job not having sick time. My compassion increases for the young guy.

“That’s exactly what happened,” he explains, “and our stock was low and I had to restock before making any drinks, and your order got placed in the wrong place.” 

“How frustrating!” I reply.

He smiles, “It was!”

He hands me my last container and asks if I need anything more. I ask if I could get my drink from lunch. He lights up, and I realize he may be happy to do something to rectify the situation. “Yes! What size did you order?”

I stop, stunned, realizing I hadn’t selected a size at lunch. “I don’t know,” I reply. “Let me look at my receipt.”

“Wait,” he says. “You already paid for the drink?!”

“Yes.” I reply with a smile.

“That’s even worse!” he exclaims. “I’ll make sure you get your drink this time.”

“Thank you so much!” I reply.

Several hours later, I’m still pondering the necessity for this situation, and all I’m getting is that it was a test…an opportunity to actually use my tools to resolve conflict in a new way…using new skills, new thoughts, new behaviors, new words. It was uncomfortable, and I didn’t enjoy it, but a new groove in my brain is beginning to form…providing me with options and a freedom to choose where once I had none.

So…maybe I have found that gratitude part of me…and it’s bigger than I originally thought.

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4 Comments

  1. Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I love your writing and I’ve just nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award 🙂

    http://thelastsongiheard.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/kreativ-blogger-award/

    • Seraphina said,

      Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Thank you for your kind words and the nomination. Would you be willing to enlighten me on what the Kreativ Blogger Award is?

  2. Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    It’s one of the awards that bloggers give to one another… it’s more an acknowledgement of good blogging and writing than anything else 🙂 Truthfully, there are a bunch of awards out there and they can become a bit like a chain letter, but I hope you understand that I nominated you with sincere appreciation for your blog.

    If you click on the link, it will give you a little more info 🙂

    • Seraphina said,

      Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you so much! I receive your intention with gratitude and will peruse the link later this week. 🙂


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