This morning, rather than working at work, I was on “vacation” working at home. I was determined to finish the last mile of our 4 year basement finishing project. The basement has been very functional however one last section of it is cluttered, has become a dumping group, and needs finishing touches like paint, trim, and a ceiling.

So I started by hitting our local Walmart/Lowes center. While at Walmart picking up a few things I decided to ask the clerk how her Christmas was. She was talkative and said she really enjoyed it with family. It was her little neice’s first Christmas which made it special. She is very close to “Daisy” and it seems like she has a larger, close family.

The next stop was Lowe’s for paint. After several grueling rounds with my wife on paint color which included negotiation, paint swatches, paint samples, and wall painting, we had come to an agreeable color. They say opposites attract and it is clearly evident in our selection of decor and choices. If she said black, I would say white. If she said plaid, I would say solid. If she said light, I would say dark. Need I say more? So it was a victory for both of us that I was even standing at the paint counter with an agreed-upon selection.

While at the paint counter, I chatted with the countergirl. As at Walmart, I asked how her Christmas was. She was not so positive as the Walmart cashier. She just said “Uh, it was tolerable”.

I asked her what would have made it better. She replied that if members of her family would stop alienating each other and picking fights, it might be a nice time. It seems her dad passed away 2 years ago and there is still a lot of pain and anger. Her family is not dealing with it well and is taking it out on each other.

I told her that I would pray for her family and for healing. She thanked me as she gave me my paint cans. As I was walking to the cashier, the Lowes and Walmart employee stories reminded me of a video I posted a few weeks ago where the guy starts his day with a bad attitude and is grumpy but gets a pair of “compassion” glasses and sees labels on everyone he sees about what they are going through. While we can’t wear those glasses literally, we can definitely take a few moments throughout our day to talk with folks and possibly learn what labels they have, what burdens they are carrying, and how we might be able to love them. If you haven’t seen the video, go check it out —

Upon exiting Lowes, the sliding doors separated to reveal a glorious crisp new day with the sun just peeking over the horizon bathing the area with orange light. I had lots to accomplish but already the day was off to a great start. I ended up getting all the painting and trim work completed thanks to help from my middle daughter K who stuck with me in the basement all day. It was hard work but I treated her to her favorite — Graeter’s Ice Cream, after my wife and I took her to dinner at our local BBQ Mark’s Feed Store.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net