Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
TITLE: The Write Shopping Cart
By Debbie Burgett
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In a matter of a few short weeks, what I had always dreamed of and hoped for was suddenly becoming a reality. It seemed as if the Lord had scooped up all the scattered pieces of my puzzle and had handed them to me saying, “Okay. Now it’s time. Go for it.” I was amazed and humbled and very, very grateful.
I forced my mind back to the task at hand and stopped to compare prices. The sweet, distinctive cry of a newborn caught my attention. So mine wasn’t the only miracle here. I smiled at the two women hovering over the precious contents in the shopping cart and moved on.
I had gotten to the end of that aisle and was starting into the next one when I heard, “Miss! Miss!” and turned to see if I was being called. One of the ladies, who had been helping with the baby, ran up with an anguished look on her face and pointed to my basket. I looked and instantly realized that it wasn’t my basket at all. There in the front section was someone else’s purse. How embarrassing.
But that wasn’t the real problem. In the back part of the basket was someone else’s baby. Horrified, I exclaimed and turned loose of the cart as if it had struck me by lightening. Confused, all I could manage was an anxious, “Where’s my basket?” I found it sitting back where I had stopped to compare prices. And I needn’t have worried. My toilet paper and Styrofoam cups were completely unscathed.
I just stood there beside it and cried. I had never felt such total humiliation. Knowing what that other mother must be thinking of me made me ache. I knew I would have to speak to her, but at that precise moment I wanted nothing more than to disappear from her memory forever.
When I could finally trust myself to be somewhat coherent, I told her how deeply sorry I was for not paying attention. I asked her to please forgive me for the terrible fright I had given her and for the pain and grief it had caused. And I assured her how very careful I would be in the future.
She accepted my apology, but with a numb, hurt expression that I knew would probably be there for quite awhile. I would have given anything to take that look out of her eyes as we parted our separate ways.
I finished the shopping in a daze. The clouds under my feet were long gone. I wondered how a morning that began so innocent and wonderful could have turned into such a nightmare. And I couldn’t avoid thinking about it later that evening and drawing some personal parallels.
While I had been walking down that store aisle, pushing the wrong shopping cart, with someone else’s sleeping baby in it, I honestly had no idea that I was doing anything wrong. And I would have bet the whole entire farm that I wasn’t. But I was thoroughly mistaken.
I thought again about the very loving writing opportunity that the Lord had so recently surprised me with. If left to myself, I could apparently go walking off in all sorts of shocking directions – yet mistakenly think I was doing nothing wrong at all. And like that very morning, a beautiful start could be turned into a disaster.
But God has no trouble telling shopping carts apart. He doesn’t get sidetracked or distracted or deceived. He is not capable of making mistakes. He will always have the right basket. I can trust Him. No, I need to trust Him. Otherwise, I will be bringing this world about as much joy as I had brought to that mother. And I knew with all my heart that was not an option.
I want to write His words, not mine. I want His results, not mine. Only the right shopping cart will do. When I get down to the end of each writing aisle and start on a new one, I only want to find toilet paper and Styrofoam cups in my basket.
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