Christmas lights saved the life of a Wal*Mart cashier

Growing up, as a child of the 80’s, one of my favorite movies was Dirty Dancing. My young girl heart just smiled during scenes like this one. The sexy forbidden romance was just so dang enticing. Am I right?

However, every time I watched it there was one scene where I just plain wanted to kick “Baby” right in the shins. Her father is bragging about her to their waiter that she is going to change the world. When her sister is asked what she is going to do, Baby, so very condescendingly responds that her sister “is going to decorate it”. Why so condescending, Baby? What is so bad about that?

Even as a young girl, I knew that I was never going to find a cure for cancer. Or teach complicated math equations to eager students.  Or write a thesis that so proudly sat on dusty, campus library shelves. But you know what I could do? I could decorate that library so nice, with big comfy couches and lamps situated just so. It would have so much ambiance that students would trek across the entire campus just to study in that lovely library.

I know what I am good at, but deep down, I always felt my talents and gifts were a little less than, ya know? I felt like I was surrounded by people like Baby, that had bigger, more important things to do than decorate the world.

It’s Christmas time and me, along with 2543 of my closest friends, were in an endless line at Wal*Mart. As I finally inched my way closer, I couldn’t help but over-hear the conversation the Wal*Mart checker was having with the customer in front of me.  He was buying like every box of lights left on the shelves (which could explain the angry glares from other festive shoppers). She was thanking him for taking the time to decorate. She told him that last year at this time she was going through a tough, dark time in her life.  She was driving home contemplating whether this life was really worth it when she turned down a street close to hers and was met with a brightly lit wonderland. She said it was so lovely and peaceful that she couldn’t help but pull over and just sit and take in the moment.  That moment was what she needed to clear her thoughts and remind herself that even in dark times, there is still some brightness when one remembered to look.

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Even in dark times, there is still some brightness

And this moment, surrounded by hundreds of stressed out shoppers and sold out lights and quickly emptying shelves, was the moment I needed to remind myself that perhaps, just maybe, “changing the world” and “decorating the world” have a little bit in common.