I mentioned a while back about one of my successful attempts at pointing to the existence of God with the folks around me. [22 October, Who Knew?] The victory that day with the cashier at the grocery store has kept me pumped for the last two months. I finally saw her again last week so I directed our cart into her checkout line.
To say I was excited to take the next step in my language learning and Truth sharing would have been more than accurate. I got my cart in order and made sure I was out of the way but ready. I stood quietly as she finished with the person before me, an 'older gentleman' who was having difficulty bagging his purchases.
I kept a patient smile on my face as I practiced the words in my head. Dobry den. Jak se máš?
When the gentleman turned to walk away, I poured all the warmth and enthusiasm I could muster out through my eyes toward the cashier. I got out the "Hello", but I never got to utter my cheery "How are you?" The unhappy look on her face and the impatient tone of her voice drove the words from my lips.
Oh no! I thought. What did she want to know? Oh, she said "... máte kartu." She wants to know if we have one of the special cards for regular customers. I need to give the right answer.
I quickly responded, "Ne."
Okay, that was good, but now what? She's already grabbing items and passing them over the bar code reader. I have to start putting them into our little cart or they'll pile up and slow her routine.
Bu ..., bu ..., but all I want to do is ask her how she is. I ought to be able to do that simple task while I'm loading our stuff. There isn't that much in words or food.
Yet the Czech words don't re-materialize. The cashier holds up the bag of tangerines I forgot to weigh and Curt has to rush back to the scale to get a price sticker. Beads of glow [ladies don't sweat] appear as I concentrate on making progress with my packing up to cover my mistake.
Dear Lord, I wanted to take at least another babystep on behalf of your glory. Instead here I am just trying to keep from being a burden in this lady's day. She already seemed upset about something and I don't want to make it worse. Please come along side me here.
Curt reappears with the tangerines all properly weighed and tagged.
God, bless him.
I've only got a couple more items to place on top as Curt pays the bill. He pockets the change. I tighten the drawstring.
"Děkujeme. Na shledanou." I say "Thank you very much" and "Good-bye" with as much appreciation as I can.
Phew! I don't ever want to repeat that experience.
A couple of thoughts come to mind.
"Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." attributed to Francis of Assisi.
"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 2:12
"There sure is a lot more to living this expat lifestyle for the Lord than one might think." Lady in the Loge