Jesus in the Grocery Store
Some time ago I met Jesus at the grocery store. This happens to me somewhat frequently, but these encounters never cease to amaze me. Most of the time, Jesus is working the checkout line or behind one of the counters - deli, bakery, fish - but this time was different. I was waiting my turn at the deli counter, and doing a very patient job, too, I might add. There was a couple at the counter before me and the woman seemed to be gearing up for a large party. I waited. The gentleman carried a weatherbeaten, careworn face, full of thoughtful, angry sorrow, and as I waited he glanced my way with a rueful and wary expression.
“It’s ok” I smiled, “I long ago learned the value of patience. Take all the time you need.”
He paused. “The doctors want me to have a heart transplant, that or a pacemaker. I need to decide if I should go through the trouble or try to stay on the meds. My daughter is having a baby in the spring and I need to decide if I am going to try to watch my grandchild grow up. I was in the hospital over Christmas, got out in time to be at home for the start of the new year, but I was so tired I didn’t go anywhere to celebrate. I stayed home with my cats. They missed me while I was away.”
He stopped talking abruptly, as if he realized what he was saying to a complete stranger in the middle of the produce area, but a shaft of light from one of the fixtures fell on his face. What had once been craggy and dour, shone with love, pride, sad happiness. We spoke some more as his sister finished their deli order, I wished him well, told him I would keep him in my thoughts.
I don’t know what happened with that gentleman, what he decided, but he taught me a valuable lesson: Jesus, beloved child of God, speaks to us in different ways. Listen!