healing in grocery stores and other unexpected places…

December 28, 2007

Getting out of a funk sometimes requires the kindness of both one who knows your heart and one who will only hold it for a brief moment in a grocery store aisle.

My dad called late last night but I didn’t see the call. His voicemail was the perfect message- initial chit-chat about the weather, then empathy, closing with encouraging words. I needed his particular brand of kindness, a pure and true heart. It’s the kind you wish you could you could keep in your pocket and play every other day to remind you how goodness can heal your soul.

I wandered the grocery aisles after his call searching for comfort food. A very old black woman (she looked in her late 80’s) with a long dress, black coat and teal hat was chatting with strangers in the pasta aisle.

“I just love people, I like the white people. It’s because of Jesus I’m so happy. I mean that’s why he died on the cross isn’t it?” she said.

I nodded and smiled.

“How are you honey?” she says.

“I’m okay, I’ve been better I guess.” I say.

“Are you sick?” she says with a wrinkled brow.

“No, just a little sad.” I say. I have no idea why these words are coming out of my mouth. Maybe I could not lie to her old mother eyes.

“Oh, you look tired. You are young and strong, but you need to rest. You should rest. You work hard don’t you?”

“I do, I think you are right, I do need to rest.” I nod. “When you get home would you say a little prayer for me?” It felt shocking and completely comfortable at the same time.

“Oh yes I will. I knows how to pray honey, I knows how to pray. And one more thing, your hair is beautiful. I always tell the white girls- never cut that pretty hair.” Practical advice infused with the divine.

“I won’t. Thank you. Have a happy new year!” I say as I start to walk away.

“Thank you honey. You too.”

How can you not feel better after an encounter with a random old wise woman who is probably going senile? and a dad that for all the mistakes he ever made in his life will leave a legacy of a deep love…and a good message.

3 Responses to “healing in grocery stores and other unexpected places…”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I will light a candle for you tonight and repay 1/100th of the kindness you have shown me.
    But lady, this is the perfect example of why you’ll never be down for too long. You allow yourself to be lifted by small kindnesses, and you look for joy in grocery stores and other random places. When you pay attention like that, as you obviously do, you’ll always find people and words to lift your spirits.

  2. Mary Ellen Says:

    You’re a good girl.

  3. kelly Says:

    oh sweet woman. i love how you tell the truth to people. you could’ve told that lady that you were fine. i have to resist slipping into a lifelong habit of telling people i’m fine with a big, scripted smile–all that lying can make a girl pretty lonely. when i tell it like it is, things just turn out so much better! kindness finds a way in, the day looks different, my heart sighs with relief. and little old ladies in grocery stores who are going senile suddenly begin to make sense.

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