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How waiting in line can bring the best out in you


Jason Whitman | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/11/20

Could queuing in those lengthy lines be a blessing in disguise? Yes, if you let it!

One of the many inconveniences the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to daily life has been our complete change in shopping habits. Before the pandemic and consequent lockdown, going shopping was generally a breeze — especially if it were kid free. You could walk in a store, grab your items and get back home in time before anyone noticed you were gone.

Now a shopping trip has been turned into an orderly marathon, one that needs just as much as preparation and supervision as a real race.

There’s selecting the pre-shop appropriate attire: mask, gloves, clothes that can be washed at high temperatures, and removing any unnecessary items to keep contamination to a minimum. Then there’s getting in the car with bags you hope you remembered to disinfect from the previous shopping trip. After all that stress you’re ready for a coffee, but this is just the beginning.

You then have to embark on the pre-shop workout. You arrive at your retail outlet and strain your neck looking at the line that’s snaking round the entire block and your heart sinks a little. You finally join the end of the queue and you spend a good moment working out the appropriate distance between you and the shopper in front of you. You take up your place and finally the waiting begins.

Your mask is irritating you and you realize that you’re completely over or under-dressed for the weather. But you persevere. You’re counting the people in front (although little do you know that the line manages to extend even further once you’re in the shop!) and you try and work out just how long it’s going to be before you get inside.

The atmosphere is a little tense with people wondering if they’ll even be anything left in store, and more anxious shoppers hoping and praying they won’t pick up the virus. You might begin to feel a little lonely, and maybe a little low. And that line isn’t getting any shorter. So this is when you conjure up those Christian virtues to help you get through it…


Well, it goes without saying. Getting annoyed isn’t going to help so we need to lean heavily on that virtue that’s not always easy to embrace.


Waiting while others are served can be a humbling experience, especially if you’re used to getting what you want, when you want.


You might want to give up your place for someone really in need; an elderly person or a pregnant woman.


You need faith to not only believe you’re going to make it through that line, but also that God is with you, no matter what.


This really is a time to love thy neighbor in the queue and care for them by keeping your distance and being kind.

So really, when you think of it, the whole shopping experience is really a blessing in disguise. Not only do you get to have extended time to yourself, you also get to practice your Christian virtues!


Read more:
Struggling with patience? Let this famously impatient saint help you


Read more:
Dutch supermarket finds unique way to end loneliness among the elderly

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