Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

My Home Depot helper

I often wish I was one of those people who could walk into Home Depot and know exactly where everything is and make a beeline right for that aisle. But, alas, I will say that I have yet to reach that level of adulthood. I usually walk around like a lost puppy until I find a representative who looks nice enough to help me.

On my most recent trip, I decided not to waste any time and went right to the person at the front of the store and told her exactly what I needed. She told me where to go and even called a representative to show me how to use the kiosk.

An introvert by nature, I tend to run my errands with my head down, on a mission to get in and get out with what I need with as little human interaction as possible. However, the woman helping me at the kiosk was so kind, I didn’t mind chatting with her while we waited for my keys to be copied. She helped me through every step of the process. She easily could’ve showed me how to use the machine and went on her way, but she was present with me the whole time. We got to chatting about the reason I was copying keys in the first place (my tendency to lock myself out of my apartment) and she shared a funny story of her own. She said “I felt like I could share that with you,” and it really made my day.

We are so used to just going about our days on autopilot, moving from one task to the next, that we often don’t stop to really be present in the moment. I’m sure this woman has a very stressful job, but she was so pleasant and that made a huge difference to me.

We all just experienced the collective trauma of the COVID19 pandemic. I don’t really think people are fully ready to be back in the world sometimes—at least I know I’m not. We see it in the way people are driving and rushing around. There is just an underlying sense of tension, and it often feels as if we are hanging by a thread. I thought maybe we would learn but it seems that “the show must go on,” whether we are all ready for it or not.

I understand why people are so frustrated, but I think that’s why this particular encounter stood out to me so much. It reminded me so much of what the Gospel boils down to.

Jesus was always present with those He was with, no matter who they were. He extended love at every turn. Even amongst crowds of people reaching out to Him, He always seemed to find the one person who needed His mercy the most.

As we approach the holiday season, although I am absolutely overjoyed to get to celebrate with family and friends again, I want to resist the urge to act like I didn’t learn anything these past couple of years. I want to be intentional about creating more moments like this one at Home Depot.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Micah 6:8. “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

It doesn’t seem like such a tall order when you read it that way. And yet, it is still exceptional when it actually happens.

I’m sure there will be times this holiday season when it will be business as usual and I find myself running through my daily activities. It is just one of the inevitabilities of life. But I want to really intentionally try to love others, even if I don’t necessarily “like” what I’m doing.

Maybe I’m an idealist but I think, as a society, it’s something we can work towards.

This year I am thankful for all the people who make life a little more pleasant each and every day. And Tracey at the Stratford Home Depot, thanks for your help!