Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Silver Linings

I left BJs, the wholesale shopping club, and loaded my groceries from the cart into the big silver lined bags that I had bought a few weeks ago. BJs does not bag your groceries, so you either have to make a thousand trips from your car to your kitchen to unload, or after 4 years of shopping at BJs, you come to the startling conclusion that you should buy some of those "green" shopping bags and keep them in the car. As I was loading the bags, a woman stopped and told me, "Good for you!"
Good for me? I was being cheered and I had no idea why.
"You know, in California, it will soon be law - no more plastic bags at grocery stores. They take 50 million years to decompose, you know. And you will have to pay ten cents a bag for paper ones. You are very smart buying those big reusable bags. Good for the environment and good for you!" She smiled at me.
"Well...thank you," I said.
She walked away and another woman approached me just as I was about to wheel the cart back to the cart corral.
"Are you done with that? I will take it for you," said the woman.
"Oh...sure. Thank you." (Strange day at the grocery store!)
"Does it work well?" she asked.
"Yes, it sure does," I said.
"Cause you never know," she said, taking my cart, "Some of them are just awful."
"This one was fantastic," I assured her, happy to have test-driven it for her.
She smiled happily and waved as she pushed the cart away.

I often go seeking praise, but rarely does it just plop in my lap. It wasn't exactly what I would have considered day-making encouragement, but it was better than nothing. Without even trying, I had been lauded as environmentally conscious, and an excellent judge of grocery carts. Like my "green bags", there had been an unexpected silver lining in the tedious duty of grocery shopping.

Encouragement often takes such little time, requires such little effort, but can loom so large in the heart of the one who receives it. I am always impressed by strangers who take time to offer small words of encouragement, those little bits of sadness-sponges.

As the lady with my cart started to roll off, I called after her, "I hope you enjoy the cart I have prepared for you! Drive it well!"

Romans 15: 4-5
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had

-save a dog-

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