A week or so ago, Mary Helen sent me off to do grocery shopping while she took care of other business. Now, I enjoy shopping for groceries. It’s probably something to do with being born in the depression when bananas were a luxury. Chocolate unheard of. Or it may be due to spending 16 years in Pakistan where we had no supermarket.
Anyway, with anticipation I corralled a shopping cart and plunged into the experience. The huge store was in a town where we don’t usually shop, so I wasn’t prepared to do battle. I’d hardly begun to ponder which variety of grapes to buy before I realized I was taking this shopping thing way too lightly.
All around me grim-faced rivals determined to cut seconds off their previous records zoomed around the store using their carts as menacing missiles. Someone reached over my shoulder for grapes. I was blocking them in. Like the polite Canadian that I am, I mumbled sorry and moved my cart into the scrum.
Congestion was serious. Woe-betide anyone who blocked an aisle. No one smiled. Harried housewives and grim seniors jockeyed for position around the bargains. My attempt at a light comment, must be rush hour, was ignored. Brows were puckered, lips set in grim lines, eyes focused ahead. It was almost like being in an elevator with no one acknowledging anyone else. Before I could say, we will not be unsold, I found myself metamorphosing into a grocery store Jekyl.
Charge! Time is short! I’m so important and my life is busy! I’ve got to get to the check-out before these plebeians.
Wait a minute. This is crazy. Surely, not everyone has a deadline to attend the funeral of their best friend. We live in an age with more disposable time than any other. We own scores of labour-saving devices. Few of us have to work from dawn until dark in farm fields or on a job site. Or haul water from a well. Or use an outhouse. Or cut wood to cook our meals. Or hunt for food.
Then can’t we relax a little? Take it easy. Smile at one another. Make cheerful comments. Life is too short to look on grocery shopping as if it was grim race to the finish.
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful”(Prov.15:13a). “The cheerful heart has a continual feast”(Prov.15:15b). “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up”(Prov. 12:25).