Have you ever had a religious experience at the grocery store?
The first time was back in early September. I was meandering through the aisles, loading up on cake baking supplies and snacks for my son’s lunch box. His birthday was coming, and he had just started full-day school days. I was weepy as I was wandering, still in the thick of the “letting go” process. It was hard for me to stomach him being under someone else’s charge, and apparently it was hard for him, too, as he was exhibiting some spikes in bad behavior. I wanted to wrap him up and tuck him away from the world, but I knew that I would not be able to shield him from “real life” forever. It made my heart crack.
Checking out, the cashier must’ve smelled my melancholy. “Somebody’s birthday?” he asked, as he swiped the candles and cake mix.
“Yup. My son. He’ll be 5.”
“Is he at school?”
“Mmm hmm. He just started.” I couldn’t help but share more — the young man was being quite tender, and I could sense him inviting me to open up. “It’s the first time we’ve been away from each other all day, and it hasn’t been so easy.”
“I remember how hard it was for my mom and dad, too.” And he proceeded to tell me quaint anecdotes about his parents sending him and his siblings off to school for the first time. We talked about public school. Private school. Home schooling. I asked him where he went to school, and found out he was in his first year of college, studying English. I had been an English major, too, so we chatted about books.
“Who’s your favorite author?”
He got me with that one. It’s always difficult for me to choose. “Virginia Woolf,” I said.
He picked Faulkner.
The groceries were sitting quietly in their neon yellow bags (yes, I have a dozen eco-friendly ones, but I always forget them in the trunk). We lingered momentarily, until the impatience of the lady behind us egged us on to good-byes. I checked out his name tag: Christian. “Thanks, Christian, you’ve brightened my day!” And he had. Eight months later, the 10-minute exchange still sits in my memory as, well, a holy conversation. Exactly what I needed. A few minutes of love from a compassionate stranger to give me a boost.
God truly is everywhere. In church. In you. In me. In my tree. A tulip, a smile. My child. My dog. And nestled in between a cashier and a customer on a conveyor belt. Loaf of bread. Stick of butter. Gallon of God.
I heard Him again there, just today.
I have a new habit of dropping my son off at school in the morning and then heading for a soy latte. I spend a few minutes in the car, sipping my drink and digesting a few pages from the latest spiritual book I am devouring. I find it hard to concentrate on nourishing my soul in the midst of the kiddie chaos that continuously swirls through my house, and just this handful of minutes (of calm) before the care-taking storm begins has done wonders for me. I needed to food shop, and was going right after I finished a chapter. The current passage was essentially about returning to a child-like state and trusting that God will take care of you, of everything. So let go. Have faith in our Father.
Yes. I felt it. Loved. Peaceful. Connected to my heart space. Connected to All. Ah.
Off for bagels, fruit, and water. I grab a cart, wipe the handle, wheel through the sliding doors, and immediately hear, “Knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s door, hey hey heyheyhey…” I chuckle. I love the humor and joy that abounds in the messages of the Universe. And the next song was even more poignant, an oldie but goodie, one that I had never heard before. The gist of it was basically ‘Have a little bit of faith in me. That’s all you need to do. I am here, with open arms, waiting to love you whenever you need, girl. Just have a little bit of faith in me.’ Wow.
This time, God wasn’t in the grapes.
He was singing to me on the radio.