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Parking Lot Diaries

August 17, 2015

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Sunday Morning – An elderly woman struggles to move groceries from her cart to the trunk of her car. A pair of younger people stop and offer help. As they load the groceries, the woman keeps repeating, “Thank you. Oh, thank you so much.” They put her cart away when they are finished. I note that they helped without even being asked, without knowing this woman. I note that the youngsters and the woman appear to come from different ethnic backgrounds – their skin is not the same color. And today, with all of the tension reported all around me, it seemed important to pay attention to this quiet, perhaps unremarkable, beautiful moment.

Monday Evening – I wait in the car while The Kettle Slayer puts our cart away. A man inches his cart through the lot just ahead of me. He stops and peers up the aisle, then over to the left and the right. Panic crosses his face and then resolution. He looks again. Panic again. My hand is on the door handle. I hesitate. Does he need help? Would he welcome help? He creeps forward another foot or two and pure relief floods his whole being. From behind a full-sized SUV, the corner of a boat-like Cadillac is now visible. He straightens, strides toward the car, and loads groceries with ease.

The world is a lonely place sometimes. Full of brokenness, full of fear. I am on the lookout for the antidote, the balancing moments. Watching for the perseverance and relief. And, as always, collecting joy.

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