A Walmart Run-In

It has been a tough morning. I went to church, and it was filled with bittersweetness. I was teary and tired, but I needed to buy some groceries, so I decided to push myself and go to Walmart. I’d just “run in.”

That’s what we all say, right?

kai-oberhauser-224745I hoped I wouldn’t run into people who wanted to talk. I wasn’t in the mood. I love people, but sometimes I don’t like interacting much with them. Perhaps you can relate.

The store was crowded, but I somehow didn’t run into anyone I knew well. I was even able to help a few people find what they needed. I am a “mission shopper,” so I appear to know what I’m doing and where I’m going; therefore, I tend to get the “Do you happen to know where…” question often. I don’t mind a bit. Even when I’m irritable, helping people becomes a soothing salve to my heart.

I checked out and breathed a sigh of relief: no run-ins.

Just as I was leaving, someone I knew walked in. I hadn’t seen her for a while, and I enjoyed our light chatter for a minute. Then I asked her a question about how something was going in her life – something I’d encouraged her through in the past. She teared up. We talked. Then she asked me a question. And I teared up and explained. People walked in and out around us, but it felt like we were the only two people in the world in those few minutes. We laughed at ourselves through our tears. I invited her to a study group meeting that week, and we hugged and thanked each other for a willingness to stop and authentically share and listen.

When we saw each other later that week at group, we both smiled. Neither of us was in the mood to talk that day. Neither of us planned to cry in Walmart. But we were thankful.

Sometimes, unwanted run-ins are just what we need.

God provides, and we get to experience the sweetness of that provision when we’re available and willing.

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