A coworker who had not been feeling well fainted at her register. A customer called out for help, and I was the first to get to her.
She had fallen behind the counter. I sat on the floor next to her and helped her sit up. I once volunteered to drive an ambulance for the town where I was a minister, and I thought back to my training. I focused on being calm and reassuring while I took her pulse and checked her over.
“We’re going to take care of you,” I said.
“I don’t want to go to the hospital,” she said.
“I understand,” I said, “But since the ambulance is on the way, we might as well let them examine you.”
The ambulance came, and after some discussion, she agreed to be taken to the emergency room, where she stayed for several hours.
The next day, I was at my register helping a customer when she had a little mishap.
The person beside her accidentally elbowed her in the face as she leaned over. It was an “oops” moment and didn’t look like a hard hit, but it made her reel back and become unsteady on her feet. I thought she was going down, so I stepped over and put my arm around her shoulder, exerting my strength to hold her up. She took a moment to lean against me before trying to stand alone. When she regained her balance, she insisted she was fine and left. When I returned to my register, another customer complimented me on moving quickly to catch the woman.
All my life, I’ve trained to be a person who notices and helps when someone is in distress. However, for the last few years, I’ve felt myself sitting on the sidelines, getting older, slower, and weaker as I struggle to learn new skills that the younger ones pick up more quickly. But as I helped these two ladies, I felt my power return, and I became myself again.
This is the point where people assure me that I never really lost my abilities and that even at the cash register, I’m still me, with all the qualities and skills I’ve always had. And I’d probably agree. But the truth is I often feel like I left part of myself behind when I left the ministry. It felt good to be back in action, if only for a moment or two.