I’ve been pretty slack in my grocery shopping duties lately. I used to go religiously every Wednesday because it’s the first day of the “new” prices for the week. Then I changed to Fridays because it felt like I was shopping less. Then I just stopped shopping. Though obviously not totally because we’ve had food to eat, but I just wasn’t giving it the care that I used to, or getting any enjoyment from it.
Today I had to get over to Safeway because I was completely and totally out of Coke and needed some Golden Mushroom Soup for the pork chops we were going to have for dinner last night. I’ve got several Safeway Gas Rewards that I needed to use before they expire later this week so I decided to go after picking B up from school as it put me halfway to the Stockton location that has a gas station attached, which is also in the same shopping center as Trader Joe’s, and who needs an excuse to go to TJ’s? Not me! I decided to get the gas after I was done shopping. In my mind there was a logical reason, but it doesn’t really matter. I ended up spending more than I planned, which helped me to decide not to go to Trader Joe’s while also giving me an extra gas reward! so we got our gas and headed for home. But first….
While B was dutifully pumping the gas I noticed a man checking the garbage cans for recyclables. I knew I had some empty water bottles in my car but didn’t think to give them to him. When a second man came around, I got the impression that he was in greater need of help and I asked him if he wanted the few I had. I felt badly because I only ended up having 3 or 4, not the dozen I thought were hiding under my seat, but my shoulder angel reminded me that I had a ton of food in my trunk so I asked if he’d like something to eat. Now, it probably should have been obvious that he would want something to eat but you just never know. I hear stories all the time of people that panhandle for a living, and make quite a nice sum doing it. There are scam artists everywhere, but it was clear to me that he wasn’t one of them. I was perturbed when the rent-a-cop on a bike rode up and told Larry (that was his name) that he wasn’t supposed to be there, but I made it clear that Larry hadn’t approached me. I didn’t want the poor guy getting in trouble! So I gave him some fresh fruit and made him a cheese sandwich in the hopes that it would make a small dent in his hunger. As he started to wander off it occurred to me that he probably didn’t have access to clean drinking water so I sent B running after him with a few full water bottles and wished him a good day. I wanted to ask him so many things to see if there were some other way I could help but Paul Blart kept giving us the stinkeye so we just headed home.
Every day when we pray, we ask for an opportunity to be of service to someone. I am so grateful that I met Larry today and was touched by how humble he was. I hope I am blessed with more of these opportunities, and I hope my children are with me so that they can see how important each person is. They argue and fight so much… I keep trying to teach them that Kindness Begins With Me, but it’s hard for them to see beyond their own noses and when we are graced with the opportunity to love someone as our Savior loves us, I think those moments are the most effective teaching ones.