More than I Bargained for at Walmart

The other day I ran into Walmart to pick up some cold medicine for my wife, Cindy.

As I moved to the register two employees behind the counter were engaged in conversation. I don’t know what they were talking about but the one who stood behind the register mumbled to herself, “I’m not forgiving anybody.”

I laughed to myself. It’s amazing how sometimes the universe just temps you with such low hanging fruit. This was too rich to pass.

“I’m sorry, but I head you say you’re not going to forgive anyone.”


“Well, I’m doing a research project on forgiveness and I just want to know why you’re not going to forgive?”

She drops the medicine into a bag and gives a bit of a stink-eye.


I pull out my debit card and she points to the debit card reader machine that looks like the TI-82 calculator I unsuccessfully used in high school Algebra class.

“Because why should I forgive someone if they’re not going to forgive me?”

She hands me the bag. We lock eyes. “You know, I have a blog, maybe you’ve heard of it, Write on Fight on…”

For the love of St. NyQuil I didn’t say that.

No, I just took the medicine, smiled, said, “good luck with that,” and walked away.

Look– I’m not vilifying the Walmart worker, her attitude regarding forgiveness is a popular one, “Why should I forgive someone if they’re not going to forgive me?”

It’s an attitude I totally understand and have entertained.

But forgiveness, like anything worthwhile, must be sought. We must not wait for others to initiate forgiveness because chances are–they won’t.

We take care of the world by taking care of each other. We harvest hope by giving hope to others. We can personify the change that encourages others to change.

I walked across the Walmart parking lot, opened the car door, slid in, and cranked the engine.

I sat there for a few minutes and watched black top shift from light–to dark–to light again and knew what was happening in front of me was a consequence of what was happening above me. The sun was shining, the clouds were rolling, and I was–buckled into the driver’s seat of my Volkswagen–powerless to it all.

So much of life is beyond our control. So much is happenstance. So much happens regardless of how we feel about it.

When all is said and done–we decide the type of world we live in.

This is our saving grace.

We may not be able to control the heavens, but we decide if we’re going to hold on to anger and resentment and stay shackled to pain or if we going let go, forgive, and find a personal freedom we desperately want in a life that encourages us to repress the pain we all have inside.

But I didn’t go to Walmart for some existential breakthrough.

I went for some cold medicine.

Be well,


Forgiving Your Family and Letting Go of Childhood Pain

A recent post:

When we let our past pain live in the present we are defining ourselves by such pain.  Our memory empowers pain. And so we nourish pain, give it  shelter inside us. We give pain permission to grow with us. Read the full article. 

My 2020 resolution is to learn more about and practice more forgiveness. There is growing research that forgiveness is the key to a happier and healthy life. Check out my forgiveness journey and share with someone you think may be interested.