On the Clock
I knew I was shaving it close.
It was one of those days when my to-do list left no wiggle room. Between the second I backed the car out of the garage and the dog’s grooming appointment two hours later,I had to drop off my husband’s suit at the cleaners, pick up my prescription, mail bills, and do the grocery shopping. I closed my eyes and visualized all my destinations, trying to find the straightest route through the maze of my day. I plunked the grocery shopping in the middle of my errand list and drove off.
I may pull this off after all, I thought, as I marched toward the supermarket door after snagging a parking spot near the entrance. Placing my purse on the kiddies’ seat portion of the cart, I reached in to grab my shopping list and felt everything but that one piece of paper. Peering inside, I rooted urgently around its contents but to no avail. Facepalm! I could see it lying where I had left it on the kitchen table.
I hate it when I do dumb things like that.
I ground my teeth and entertained the notion of shopping without it, but my chances of recalling everything – when I couldn’t even remember to bring the list in the first place – were nil. My sigh was more a growl as I surrendered my grand parking spot to return home for the list.
I promised myself I was going to sail through this store in record time when I returned 15 minutes later. I was just reaching for a grapefruit when I heard a familiar voice call my name. I turned to see Marcia from my quilting circle at church clutching the handle of her cart that was parked just behind me. Her hair, usually salon perfect, looked like an explosion in a wheat silo and really, there was no way her striped slacks could have gone with the floral fabric of her blouse. She must have seen the curiosity on my face, because she began to speak in a rush of words, even though I really had no time to chat. No time at all.
“Oh, it’s so good to see a friend!” Marcia’s hand flew to her hair. “I know I must look a fright, but it’s been a horrendous week. I got a phone call at four in the morning a week ago telling me Mom had a stroke. Dad’s a wreck, of course and I’ve been running between the hospital and the house, trying to take care of Dad and keep up with Mom. It hurts so much to see her laying there, her right side paralyzed. I don’t know what will happen or how Dad will manage.”
Marcia shook her head, fighting tears. My heart broke for her. I reached my arms around her and held her tight, right there in the produce department.
“It’s so hard when these things happen,” I said, patting her back. “You remember what I went through with my parents last year. But somehow God gets us through even when we can’t see how.” I looked into her eyes and smiled. “And He uses friends to help,” I added.
After I slammed the trunk lid down over my grocery bags and slid behind the wheel of the car, I moved the drug store and post office errands to after the dog’s appointment.Spending time with Marcia had blown my schedule to pieces but I realized something wonderful.
I would have arrived too early at the supermarket for the divine appointment with her had I not forgotten my grocery list. God had that meeting planned all along and comforting her turned out to be best of what I was supposed to do that day.
I grinned as I turned on the ignition and whispered, “God, I love the way You work.”
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