Monday morning started out great–in fact it started out perfect. My husband was fly-fishing for the day, so I wouldn’t feel as if I was ignoring him when I spent the day concentrating on my lengthy to-do list. I had plenty to get accomplished, but I wanted to make sure I started the day right.
So I headed to our flower-laden deck for a delicious breakfast of Greek yogurt, fresh berries and sliced almonds. I lingered over my cup of English breakfast tea as I read, not one, but two devotionals! As I enjoyed the colorful songbirds convening at the feeders, I prayed for each member of my family, for friends facing cancer and for others who need to know the love of Jesus. I thought to myself: It doesn’t get much better than this.
But the morning was not over.
I readied myself for a day of running shopping errands, foregoing fashion in favor of my most-reliable sandals. As I dressed, I smiled when my shorts were too loose instead of too tight as they had been last summer. (Whenever the right size clothes fit on a six-decade-old-body, it’s a good day, right?)
I gathered all my shopping needs: reusable bags, shopping list, coupons, insulated cooler bag with a freezer pack, light sweatshirt for cold stores, circulars with store specials, and a grocery bag full of plastic bags to be recycled at Giant because our curbside recycling company doesn’t accept them. I had a plan for the most efficient way to make my four stops, so I headed into the car. I popped in an old CD and began singing along with the familiar praise songs. At one point, tears filled my eyes as I sang about the Savior I love so much. It felt well with my soul.
It was a good morning…but it wasn’t over yet.
I parked at the Aldi grocery store and offered a woman the customary quarter for the shopping cart she was returning (FYI–you have to “rent” an Aldi cart until you return it). But the woman insisted I take her cart for free. I quickly found everything on my list. I gathered some really good bargains. The usually crowded store had no line at the checkout. The clerk was especially friendly. A feeling of gratefulness for so many “small” things filled my heart and I whispered a prayer of gratitude to God, the giver of all good gifts.
It was a great morning…but it wasn’t over yet.
I took my groceries to my car, carefully loading the perishables into the insulated cooler. As I was getting everything settled, the plastic bag stuffed with other plastic bags blew out of my hatchback. I quickly turned to grab the flyaway bags, but another gust of wind whipped them out of my reach. Now all five bags were loose and blowing across the parking lot. I certainly didn’t want to be a litterbug, so I hurried toward them, lunging at the billowing blobs. But they escaped again. I ran to catch up with them.
That is until one of the straps on my most-reliable sandals broke. causing my ankle to turn awkwardly and me to stumble to the pavement. I hit my knee, wrenched my shoulder (which has only recently healed from a serious injury last year) and felt my low back spasm with pain. Oh, but I caught those five errant bags.
I headed back to my car and finished loading the groceries when I realized my not-nearly-completed shopping list was no longer where I had put it as the chase began. Did I mention that on one side was my list for the other three stores and on the back was my to-do list for the entire week?
I searched everything in the back of the car without success. I began looking around the lot, crouching to peer under neighboring cars. Not easy to do with a broken sandal and shooting pains. I checked out every piece of trash which looked like white paper–and there was plenty of it–but my list was not to be seen. I finally gave up, eased my throbbing shoulder and aching back into the driver’s seat, and tried to recall all those now-missing, wonderful plans.
I did everything right and it still turned out all wrong.
Ever have a day like this? Or a week? Or maybe even what feels like a lifetime of things going wrong? Those of us who are planners get especially frustrated when life goes awry despite our organizing skills. I’m almost 63 years old and I still have the illusion that I can control life with proper planning.
But I can’t…and neither can you. Stuff happens. The wind blows at the wrong time. Old reliable lets you down without warning. You lose things you can’t get back.
And cancer comes–at the wrong time, without warning and it takes precious things away.
My Monday morning, although frustrating, disappointing and downright painful, was nothing compared to the real trials of life. I know that. But the “small” things, as well as the “big” ones can steal our joy and destroy our peace. When I returned home a few hours later that day, my heart did not feel as light as it did when I left, my mind was not nearly as eternally focused and I had long stopped singing along to my CD.
Until I pulled into the driveway and heard Kim Hill’s voice:
Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful reminder that in You alone my heart has found a resting place. May I always find my security in You. Only in you Alone.
P.S. If you see any plastic garbage bags littering parking lots, they might be mine. I have sworn off ever chasing another one!