I went shopping for a gift for you, my friends. Little did I know that I would come out of it with a heart-warming story to tell. Thus I share this story with you, a lesson learned from a snobbish saleslady at the Greenhills mall.
It was morning and the saleslady, let’s call her Serena, was arranging her products at the start of store hours. I found this ref magnet made of wood bearing inspirational messages, the one you hold in your hands. I thought this would be a quaint gift for friends – a reminder of the goodness of our Lord and of life.
I asked Serena what other designs were available. She was busy fixing other items and acted like she didn’t hear me. I asked again in a louder voice. No reaction from Serena. A third time I asked again. And Serena continued fixing her stall as if she didn’t hear me.
Leche, this saleslady ignored me! She snobbed me!
I dropped the magnets back unto the display table. I walked away with a heavy heart, furious and offended! I wouldn’t be treated this way by a saleslady who didn’t know how to entertain customers! I said to myself: “Such nerve! She ignored me and didn’t care that she was losing a customer.” I was sure I’d find the same item in another shop.
Or so I thought. But three hours passed, and I hadn’t found the same item in the entire mall. In the afternoon, I decided to go back to the stall hoping that the Serena wouldn’t be there.
As I selected each of the ref magnets that I wanted buy, I saw Serena from the corner of my eye. I avoided eye contact lest she’d give me a cynical expression of “Ha! I knew he would come back!” And then, still from the corner of my eye, I saw Serena giving hand signals to another saleslady.
And then it dawned on me. When I felt offended that morning, I thought the Serena ignored me. In reality, Serena didn’t hear me at all! Serena is deaf!
It was extremely humbling to realize my mistake, to realize the prejudice I had against Serena, the deaf saleslady.
When I looked up to Serena, she smiled at me. I felt the warmth of her smile. Moments later, with sign-language, we closed the purchase. I bought four times more than I had planned to buy. The gift you are holding now was made more meaningful by this experience with Serena.
I apologized to Serena for my mistake. With hand signals, she said it was okay and she thanked me for buying. I walked away with a happy heart!
I could only imagine the kind of prejudice Serena experiences from people who misunderstand her. She readily forgave me. I thank Serena for the humbling experience.
How often do we misunderstand other people? How often do we misunderstand our loved ones? We never really understand them completely, do we? Well my friend, forgiveness transcends the lack of understanding. We CAN forgive without the need to understand. We CAN forgive without the need to be understood.
As we celebrate the birth of our Good Lord, let us give the gift of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a gift to others much as it is a gift to ourselves.
Have a blessed Christmas!