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Attitude and Atmosphere: personal narrative by Janine Pickett

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

standing in line, image by aykapog, on Pixabay

The Attitude We Carry and the Words We Speak Create Our Atmosphere

It's true. We carry a spirit or an attitude within us, and we inevitably release that spirit

into our environment by our spoken words and actions. God spoke and created the universe, right? He lives in us. Colossians 1:27 says, "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

As His children, with His spiritual DNA, whom He made in His image, we can do the

same. Just try releasing peace or kindness (light) into an ugly or chaotic situation

(darkness) and see what happens... it works like a lightning bolt, a chain reaction.

Light always overcomes darkness.

Here's what happened at KFC on a Super Bowl Sunday:

My husband waited in the car while I went in to place our order. The restaurant was

packed with people, and the staff was scurrying, frustrated, trying to keep up.The atmosphere was "heavy". I stood in line behind a woman whose credit card wouldn't

scan right, and she was becoming angry. The cashier, a tiny little girl probably about

17 or 18 years old, was becoming upset because she kept trying and retrying the card

and didn't know what else to do, and couldn't get anyone to help her because they

were all so busy. The whole situation was taking forever and the growing line behind

me was becoming very impatient.

The huge, rugged-looking man directly behind me kept muttering, shifting his weight, dramatically sighing, and finally blurted out, "I'm gonna slap this [blank] across the

room!" Ugly words, and they created even more ugliness in the room. Some people

in line behind him, now fueled by his boldness and their own impatience, grew louder

and started speaking out negatively. Others in line just left without ordering. The little cashier had tears running down her face, and would barely look up.

I thought about just leaving, too. I thought about Jeff possibly getting impatient out

there in the car. I thought about how easy it would be to join the mob mentality and

start complaining. Then I thought about telling off "big man" and sticking up for the girl.

That would have been heroic, right? The right thing to do, sticking up for the underdog,

the bullied? I THOUGHT about a lot of things... but I heard in my spirit, this:

"He doesn't know kindness. Offer him your place. Kindly."

I turned, gave a genuine smile, locked eyes with big man, and said, "You can go next."

He choked. Took a startled glance at me and said, "No. That's dumb. You've been

waiting here longer than me. Go ahead."

"Well, I really need you to go next."

He laughed! Big angry man laughed, ground his feet into place and said, "Nope."

Then we both laughed because we realized invalid credit card woman had worked

her issue out and left; little cashier had dried her eyes and was actually smiling at us,

and WE were holding up the line. He touched my shoulder and said gently, "Go ahead".

I stepped forward and told the girl to take her time, that she was doing a great job.

Then I placed my order, took my cups to the fountain pop machine and, as I was

filling them up, I heard this: big man whistling a tune as he crossed behind me to

the buffet. People laughing! The whole atmosphere in that place was changing!

I noticed there were no lids for the cups, so I asked the lady working the buffet line

if they were out of cups and, as she balanced her tray in one hand and bent down

to grab me a couple of lids, I said, "Just give me a whole stack and I'll fill up these

slots for you."

She stood up straight, handed me a stack of lids, touched my arm, and said, "God

bless you, honey."

I walked outside to the car and Jeff was sitting there with a huge grin on his face. He

asked, "What happened in there? I felt some kind of shift, or presence, or something?"

I laughed and told him..."God. God happened." Then I told him the whole story. It was

a reminder to me that kindness and love really do go a long way, and to always listen

to the spirit inside me, rather than the world and the flesh.


Janine Pickett is the founding editor of Spirit Fire Review and Indiana Voice Journal.

She's had nonfiction work published in commercial print magazines, including Country Woman, and in Chicken Soup For The Soul. Janine's fiction was nominated by THEMA literary journal for The Year's Best Horror and Fantasy #17. Her poetry appears in print anthologies, e.g., 'Tis the Season: An Anthology of Christmas Poems, and Poets of

Madison County, a regional poetry anthology which she co-edited. Her artwork has been featured in several online journals in collaboration with poets, used as book covers, and featured in the "Figures of Speech" gallery at Anderson Museum of Art.

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