Grocery shopping has become an adventure during the pandemic. Will the store have toilet paper, sugar or flour, hand sanitizer, or Clorox wipes? My husband and I have become intimately acquainted with the aisles in the nearby Albertsons. He goes towards the paper products and cleaning aisle; I head towards the baking aisle and produce. We’ve never found all the items on our list, but we have found enough to get us through a week, sometimes two weeks. We’ve adjusted some of our favorite recipes, and we were grateful we had enough sugar to make our favorite pineapple casserole on Easter Sunday.
Our awareness of the grocery store and all it contains has increased tenfold. Our appreciation for the grocery store workers has also increased; they’ve all been friendly and helpful. We go early in the morning during the senior only shopping time. My guess is many of those workers have to get up very early to start their shifts.
One morning the cart in front of me in line had several of the items we were in need of. That person got to the items before me. Jealousy and frustration overcame me. I started to whine in my head. If only I had gotten up a few minutes earlier. If only I had gotten to that aisle a little faster. Why did that person checking out have the items, and not me? I looked at my shopping cart, and realized I had everything I needed for the days ahead. I had found toilet paper during the last trip to the store. I had extra hand sanitizer because I had found some in the linen closet at home. My whining began to turn into gratitude. The person in front of me needed those items more than me at that moment. I became aware of how moving from frustration to gratitude calmed me. Call it awareness or mindfulness; I think I had a spiritual awakening at that moment.
My attention during these moments shifted from a negative place to a more positive awareness. This is hard to do these days, and I confess I’ve had more negative moments than positive ones, especially at the store! But I had this moment and there have been others like it. I am learning more and more about focusing my attention on the positive. It is a process, a movement, and I am not setting a timetable or goals or even a destination. I recognize that something is at work in me, bringing me to this new place of positivity and awareness. Someone is at work, our Risen Lord and Savior, molding me and shaping me, even in line at the grocery store. There are new things that engage my attention, capture my imagination, and move me to a new place. I am thankful for many spiritual awakenings these days, even with a shopping cart!
Guide me, Lord, so that I can see past my self- interest. Help me to view others with compassion, not judgement. Move me from selfishness to helpfulness so I can share your presence with others, so I can laugh at myself and others, so I can become more tolerant and patient. Most especially, Lord, help me to be more grateful for all you are doing in my life. I know this is possible only through your love and power. AMEN.