Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

One thing is guaranteed. I will never stop trying.

I found a couple of ways I thought I could help at church. It has taken me a long time to want to serve in church again, under the roof where I once worked. There is so much emotional trauma attached but I have found inner peace with the journey God took me on and the realization that His ways are always better. I finally came to a place where I was comfortable again. I’m also working hard to rebuild my confidence in a lot of the areas where I struggle. Rebuilding only comes when I try, and that usually means some trial and error. It’s risky, because an error could mean too much stress and lead to a seizure. In my mind, I have to always push my limits or I’m stuck in the same four walls that slowly creep in on me. It is worth the risk to try, because sometimes I win.

Today I ventured off to get some supplies for the youth ministry. Ok, first of all, NO, nothing about this involved a trip to Target so I felt completely safe. All I needed to do was go to B.J.’s and get some supplies off a list I had been given. Seemed pretty simple and straight forward to me and it seemed like the perfect kind of task to take off someone’s already overflowing plate. After all, today is Tuesday, and I still like to stay busy on Tuesdays. Yeah, I got this.

I only took two wrong turns getting there, and I still say the signage is awful, but I got there. I talk to myself when I drive. I told myself it was funny that all the old people can get in this parking lot but I couldn’t figure it out. I laughed, probably out loud. I pulled into a parking spot and saw the enormous buggies and the platform dollies. I started looking around at the people coming out and the bulging buggies and it hit me like a ton of bricks. What in the world was I doing? What planet was I on thinking I could manage getting around a store this size, dragging a dolly that would carry my family, my brother’s family and my mom, AND have a successful trip? Self chatter again, “you are here now so just go”.

I will admit that I couldn’t figure out where the stupid door was to get into the building. Again, signage people! I waited for someone to walk in so I could find my own way by following them. I surely didn’t want to run head on into the out door dragging 6′ long dolly do nothing behind me. Once I got in, I made small talk about the weather with the nice man checking for my membership card and I ventured into the concrete abyss.

I spotted the aisle that would likely have most of the things I needed and I headed that way. Suddenly I stopped and just started looking around. These aisles were long, really really long. The ceiling was high, unnecessarily high and yet it was stacked within inches of the ceiling with merchandise. I wondered who needed all this stuff. Christmas gifts, candy and ornaments were already out but thankfully there were no inflatable singing dancing moving things, because in that brief moment of overstimulation it is possible I would have had to puncture some cute Santa to eliminate some noise. As I stood there I was whisked back in time. I used to love this kind of shopping, a warehouse store, yummy goodies in bulk at discount prices! Who wouldn’t love that?! And I realized, today was the first day since early 2005 that I have walked through the doors of a store like this.

Fight or flight? I had two choices. One, leave dolly do nothing in the way of every customer and walk out (assuming I could FIND the exit), or two, fight to regain my confidence in an uncomfortable situation and stick it out. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my list. I looked around the store and I think I actually said out loud “I can do this”.

The first aisle was like hitting the jackpot. I checked off the majority of my list in one aisle. It took several runs up and down the same aisles and back and forth across the store (dragging the now heavier dolly do nothing) to mark off the rest of the list. I kept looking for someone to ask where I might find things, but I guess lower prices does mean fewer employees. I only ran into a few displays and I didn’t knock anything over so I totally see that as a success with a loaded dolly. My list was checked off, my merchandise was stacked neatly and I headed for the checkout. I had stopped several times, confused by the placement of items, confused by where to find prices and confused with the choices between items. I caught myself questioning the sensibility of this trip. Each time I shook it off, determined to prove I could overcome. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I had already ventured and I was determined to gain.

The lines were super short, cue the Hallelujah chorus, and I pulled up and began putting the smaller items on the conveyer belt. No problem checking out, until I pulled out the money to pay and the cashier realized I was paying for the entire order with just a couple of $5 bills and the rest $1 bills. I realized a line was beginning to form behind me and people were pushing me along. I had to stand in front of a teenager and count out the money. Ugg, counting always throws me off because I forget where I am and I had to count very high. Part of me wanted to tell the guy I wasn’t a stripper using all my tip money to pay and that really this was for my church, but as the conversation played out in my head it seemed useless, though it did provide me some humor. Since I was using $1 bills I didn’t want to embarrass myself by giving him way too much so I had stacks of $20s and then some $1s. I tried to figure out how to give him enough for the bill within a dollar. Then I realized he was in training so his supervisor said she had to count it out too! Oh mercy me. I glanced behind me and saw the 4 items the customer behind me wanted to buy and I could feel her frustration on my neck as I again tried counting, now with the cashier counting each stack that I gave him, and his supervisor counting it again too. The line kept getting longer and I kept repeating and counting “$20, $40, $60, $80, now what’s the total again?” Finally I, or we, got it right and he handed me my change, just a few coins. I had counted correctly, within a dollar of the total!

As I pulled 6′ long dolly do nothing towards the exit and the friendly weather talking man who was prepared to review my purchases, I glanced back into the store. I saw the long line that had formed behind me and I saw the insanely large store. I looked at my purchases and smiled. I had done it. The man looked at my pile and said “Wow, you sure did pack things neatly into these boxes.” I grinned and winked at the old man, grabbed dolly do nothing and said “Yes, yes sir. I found everything I needed here today.”

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Today I ventured. Today I gained.

© Copyright Gatewood Campbell, November 2013


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