I am unashamed, actually – I am really proud – to say that I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Aldi and Walmart Neighborhood Market. There was a time in my foolish youth when I subscribed to having to shop at higher end grocery stores because I had this ridiculous idea that it was part of a certain lifestyle I was chasing.
All I did was waste money and energy. Then I got smarter, and now I’m a lot happier for it.
Anyway, this morning I was doing my usual weekly two-store grocery hop, and something in the air just felt different. Good different.
The fellow at the register who tallied up my Aldi order was super kind. I could tell when he wished me a good day that he really meant it.
“Happy Easter!” I told him in return. I mean, technically it’s not Easter yet, but as all believers know, Sunday’s coming – and thanks be to God for that!
Then I crossed the street to Walmart, an experience that more often than not can feel stressful.
If there are any grocery carts left in the corrals just inside the entrance, good luck finding one without jacked up wheels that constantly veer to the left. Folks are usually self-contained, and can put off an air of gruffness, because life is stressful, and they are in a hurry and you can feel it. It literally permeates the overcrowded aisles, often blocked with huge pallets and abandoned forklifts.
Not today though.
Without intending to, a fellow shopper and I ended up playing grocery cart tango right there in front of the light red kidney beans. And instead of the way it usually goes (insert someone saying in a huff “Excuse me” – even if they throw in a “please” it’s usually coated in passive aggressive frustration), we had the loveliest exchange.
“Happy shopping!” she said joyfully as we scooted out of each other’s way and went on about our shopping lists.
“Same to you! Happy Easter!”
I couldn’t help myself.
That’s the difference in me at least, during a season when my faith is growing by leaps and bounds, and I am just overcome with gratitude.
Please don’t read these words and confuse that with me saying my life is easy. Not even close.
Every day brings with it a fair share of disappointments, unexpected bills, health worries, parenting hopes/dreams/fears, and all manner of daily grind minutiae.
What’s different is me. My attitude. The inner monologue of self-talk. The private prayers I share with the Lord.
Christmas tends to get all the attention and glory, and I get it. There is so much that makes the season festive and ripe with warm and fuzzy memories.
But for me, this weekend – tomorrow especially – is the Super Bowl of the liturgical calendar. I usually tear up during the Easter service – not in an embarrassing, choke sobbing sort of way, but more of a hope this waterproof mascara actually works way.
What this day signifies just takes my breath way. I’ve stopped beating myself up for the sins that my humanness can’t prevent me from doing. I do my best to be self-aware of them, and to ask for forgiveness when I oughtta, but I have stopped living in the shame spiral that characterized much of my first 40 some odd years.
As I wrapped up at Walmart, a kindly gentleman named Ernest rang up my grocery bill. Ernest had a rad pair of drugstore shades propped up on his head. He was reading a newspaper when I approached his checkout lane. I took an immediate liking to him.
We spoke warmly, and I wished him a Happy Easter as I headed out to the parking lot.
Then the coolest thing of all happened.
A fellow I vaguely recognized was steering a long line of carts from the outdoor corral back inside.
“Are you David?” I asked.
“No, I’m Brian,” he said.
“Oh ok awesome! Nice to meet you. I’m friends with Rachel, and would love to help drive you and your brother [David] when y’all need a lift. My car is the Black Highlander right over here.”
“Oh yes, I see it. Great!”
I told him when I’m usually able to help out, schedule-wise, and then we wished each other a Happy Easter.
It was a cool moment, and a God one at that. I recognized him because of a precious person in our community who started a public Facebook group to help these brothers with transportation to their jobs (unfortunately, our city doesn’t provide public transportation). What are the odds that I’d have run into him at that exact moment, and on such a hope-filled day? Don’t tell me that isn’t God-ordained.
If you look for all the ways He orchestrates little joys in the everyday, you’re sure to find plenty. Be prepared to have your heart changed!
Happy Holy Saturday, my friends!