In the bottled water section, there were two women looking at all of the various packagings and having a whispered conversation. One woman was about my age, trim and neatly dressed, and had a computerized shopping list in her hand. The other woman was much older, learning on a walker. The younger woman tried to lift a case of water into her cart, and barely was able to lift it. After it dropped into the cart, she stood there, rubbing her arms. The older woman looked worried and anxious. More whispered conversations… as I waited.
Finally, in a nonhurried way, I asked if I could help them lift another case in. With a grateful smile, the younger woman said, “Oh yes, please. I shouldn’t have lifted anything that heavy. I am getting over breast cancer surgery.”
So I hoisted their case into the cart, and then asked if she was OK, because she was still rubbing her arms. “I think so,” she said, “I know now why you aren’t supposed to lift anything heavy! That really hurt! I wouldn’t have done it except I promised my child’s soccer coach I’d bring in some cases of water today.”
I told her to make sure she got someone to load up her car for her, and to unload it for her at the school. “You can bet I will,” she said with a smile. I smiled back and told her I’d pray for her today. “Prayer is what keeps me alive,” she said.
Normally I am the worst of “Type A” shoppers. I don’t quite mow people over, but I hate the sauntering, wandering shopper when I have a list and know what I need to do. Today, for some reason, I just didn’t rush it. And this little holy interruption was a real reminder that the planet I share has many needy people on it. (And yes, Captain Obvious, I spend far too much of my hours thinking about me. I’m a work in progress, to be certain!)
The rest of the meanderings around the store I thought about her. On the way home I thought about her. As I unloaded our haul, and worked on homework, I thought about her.
I don’t know her name. God does.
So, unnamed sister, you are in my prayers today…