Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)
TITLE: In the Medical Field
By Brenda Shipman
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But I was tired…and hungry…and felt a bit like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress – trudging through the day with a heavy load.
I grabbed a cart in front of the store, sighed and headed for the entrance. A huge bin of watermelons sat just outside the door, so I stopped and began the mysterious process of picking out the perfect melon. While “knocking” on each melon (my mom’s surefire approach), a man walked over to me and said, “You wanna know the best way to pick out a watermelon?” I told him my own method. He said, “No, you look at the end opposite the stem and if you push your thumb into it and it’s just a little bit soft, it’s ripe.” Then he looked at me, and in all seriousness said, “I’m in the medical field.” I stared at him, trying to connect watermelons with the medical field and come up with a response, but all I said was, “Well, thanks. That’s really helpful.” Okaaay... A few minutes later, a lady eagerly asked, "I heard that guy giving you advice on watermelons. What did he say?" So I told her, and to validate his expertise, I threw in that he was in the medical field.
I moved on into the produce department and spotted cherries on sale. Now I was raised by a mother (yes, my watermelon-knocking mom) who had no qualms about “sampling” a grape or a cherry before she bought them. Who wants to pay $3 a pound for a bunch of sour grapes or cherries? So, in my small way of honoring my mother, I did the same thing. Popped a cherry right into my mouth without the slightest worry over salmonella, parasites, or any other nasty creepy crawly thing. It was sweet and juicy. I dropped a bag of them into my cart.
Next on my list - cantaloupe. Now with this particular melon, I am savvy enough to know that you do not thump or knock a cantaloupe to determine its ripeness. You smell it. I was taking my first whiff, when another lady pointed at me and yelled to the produce guy, “That lady stole a cherry!” I stopped mid-sniff, dropped my jaw in mock indignation, and looked at the produce guy for support. He grinned, shook his head and kept on stacking the lemons. I turned to my accuser, “I can’t believe you tattled on me! I was just making sure they weren’t coated in pesticides. In fact, I may have saved your life by sampling those cherries!” She snickered in good humor, “Thief.”
My accuser and I ended up traveling in opposite directions on every aisle of the store and it turned into a game. As we passed each other, we’d mumble a snide comment, “I’ll never forgive you for ratting on me”… “I still can’t believe you stole that cherry”… “Haven’t YOU ever sampled fruit before?” … “Thought you’d get away with it, didn’t you?” … Finally, on the last aisle, we stopped and just had ourselves a good giggle. She asked me what my name was, I asked for hers. For one brief second, I think we both thought, “You know, given the chance, we just might become good friends.”
As I pushed my cart to the checkout, it occurred to me that I was smiling all over inside. I may have even been humming some happy little tune.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” I entered that grocery story with a heavy heart, expecting to simply “get my stuff and get out”. But God gave me more than groceries, He gave me joy…among the watermelons, cantaloupes and a stolen cherry. I do believe He is an expert at picking the perfect quirky medicinal moments of joy to lighten our days. In fact, I think He is absolutely in the medical field.
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