I had an interesting morning at Aldi.
Luke stayed home with the kids so I could get out by myself and do the grocery shopping. It is so nice to drive along in the car, no radio, no sounds at all, and just think. As I made my way up to Ontario, I noticed a couple garage sales and a tag sale at a church. If I had any cash left after groceries, I decided, I would stop at them on the way home.
I was just rounding the corner after the first aisle, looking for cinnamon, when a lady came up really close to me and stared at me, hard. Thoughts of what I would do if she went crazy right there flashed through my mind in those long seconds; this had never happened to me before! Then she spoke:
“NEVER turn your back on your purse. [dramatic pause] My son is a manager at Walmart, and last week he had reports of five purses stolen in one day! Be careful, and either wear it or,” fingering the child’s seat belt in my cart and finally smiling a bit,”buckle it in like a baby!” Then she walked away. Feeling spanked, I repeatedly told her retreating figure how grateful I was for her warning. Yikes! I did buckle in my ‘baby’ after that, wondering if she was real, or maybe an angel sent from God to make sure I would have my wallet for the challenge to come.
As I was loading the belt to check out, I overheard the cashier tell the lady in front of me that Aldi didn’t take credit cards. She apparently came up with a little cash, and said something to the cashier about only getting the mayonnaise. When I got to the cashier, the thought popped into my head of paying for the items she had to put back. It was only a head of lettuce, some brown sugar, and a couple of cans of fruit. But, I argued within, by the time I paid and went out to the parking lot, she’d be gone, since she didn’t have a cart to put back or groceries to load into her car. I was really close to asking the cashier to put those items on my tab, but I honestly didn’t know if that is what I should have done. So I did nothing.
This lady wasn’t juggling a crying baby on her hip, and she didn’t look in any way impoverished; if she had, I would have had no trouble deciding what to do. But on the other hand, maybe she was needy in a spiritual sense, and by paying for her groceries I would have been giving her just the right encouragement to move forward. I’ll never know. But I do hope next time God will make it more clear if I am to step up and be part of the solution.
Through the rest of the day today I fought serious irritation, like skin-climbing, PMS, about-to-lose-it kind of feelings. Um, I’m 8 months pregnant, so what was my problem? It could have been that my brief time away by myself started me feeling entitled to things I really am not. It could have been just one of those days. It could have been subtle dehydration or hunger. But as I look back, maybe it was God answering that above prayer and letting me be part of the solution in my irritating daily life problems, deciding over and over whether I would give a boost to myself, or give grace to my husband and children. I can’t say I made the right decision each chance I had, but at least I knew for sure that at these times, the opportunities were for me and me alone.