lines at the check-out lanes were three deep. I jockeyed for position,
craning my neck toward the next aisle to see if the people in line were
waiting to buy a bottle of shampoo and a birthday card or were standing
behind a cart heaped with Tupperware, disposable diapers, and a year’s
supply of chip dips, wing dings, and sugar wees.
Apparently, there was a run on
Tupperware, disposable diapers, and sugar wees.
It didn’t look good. I took a
deep breath, glanced over my own cart and chastised myself. He
who is without sin, cast the first…
My cart was full to overflowing.
I never can go to the local discount store without filling my cart with
white socks, batteries, kitty litter, toilet paper…
I turned into the nearest lane
and prepared to let my mind drift into la-la land—that place I visit
while waiting in heavy traffic, drive-though lanes, and those return
counters where it takes forty-five minutes to return the coffee maker
that doesn’t like to make coffee.
The gates of la-la land opened.
I felt my eyes glaze. My breathing began its descent into catatonia—
“Is this coloring book for
I cleared my head and looked
toward the voice, hoping it wasn’t talking to me.
A little toddler two carts
ahead, clutching a new box of jumbo crayons, nodded at the clerk, her
face full of pride.
“Cinderella’s my favorite,
too,” said the clerk, a woman who barely came to my shoulders. “I used
to make her dress a different color on every page.”
The little girl handed over the
box of crayons. The mother paid. Then the clerk put the coloring book
and crayons into a separate sack from the mother’s purchases and handed
it to the little girl. The toddler beamed as if she’d been granted her
I banished la-la land and turned
my attention to the clerk as she handled the next person in line. A
smile. A personal word. Instead of being bored by the wait, I found
myself looking forward to my time as the recipient of the clerk’s kind
it was my turn.
“Cats are wonderful creatures,
aren’t they?” she said, pulling my giant-sized bag of kitty litter over
the scanner. Thus began our short discussion as to the attributes of
the feline persuasion.
When I paid with my credit card, the clerk took
a moment to look at the name and said, “Thank you, Mrs. Moser. Have a
I looked at her name tag, a
little embarrassed I hadn’t taken the time to notice her
name. “You too, Ivy.”
As I loaded the kitty litter
into the trunk of my car, I found myself smiling. But the smile wasn’t
mine. It belonged to Ivy.
When I got into the car, three
words forced themselves out of my mouth, “Bless her, Lord.” I hadn’t
planned to say the words; I didn’t foresee their birth. But they
surfaced from deep inside me; unbidden, yet utterly sincere. I glanced
back at the store and could imagine the hand of God soaring out of
heaven to pat Ivy on the shoulder. And I felt
That was the beginning of a new
habit. The blessing habit. It often happens with the same suddenness as
it did the first time. I’ll see a child waiting for the school bus;
I’ll notice a lone golfer practicing his swing; I’ll spot a fellow
driver rubbing his or her forehead; I’ll see an elderly man reading the
newspaper at the library, the paper raised to within inches of his
face—and those three special words will appear in my consciousness.
“Bless them, Lord.”
And I know He does. And I know
it makes a difference. To them—and to me.