My youngest daughter and I usually take part in some sort of Black Friday shopping. We don’t tussle in too many crowds, but there is one store we visit nearly every year. It’s the one worth standing in a line, getting to know our early morning neighbors, and patiently working our way through the crowds. It’s usually small things that we want, and they’re spread throughout the store, but we do our best to work our way through the store to find our bargains and stand in the long line to check out. It takes a lot less time than we usually anticipate.
We each had a cart this year, which was a new challenge, since we’d easily get separated, or one of us would have to manage two carts at once while the other darted through a crowd to grab a couple items.
That’s when the head banging happened this year.
My daughter had jogged a couple aisles over to pick up something (and to her surprise, ended up finding an item she thought was no longer available), and I continued inching forward with two carts. I saw an item on my list and leaned over the shelves to reach one.
My head hit the corner of the metal shelf. While it didn’t hurt too badly, I knew it was going to bleed.
I used my sweatshirt sleeve to dab at the slowly oozing blood. My daughter reappeared with her surprise find, and I’m not sure she noticed my oozing head at first. I briefly retold what had happened, assured her I was fine, and we moved on. It stopped bleeding, and it didn’t hurt much, so we wrapped up our shopping at that store and stopped at many more throughout the day.
It wasn’t until later in the day that I actually looked at my head. It didn’t look bad at all, but I realized it was a bit deeper than I first thought. I put some antibiotic on it and went to bed.
I didn’t feel it through the night, but when I woke up the next morning and looked in the mirror, I realized swelling had settled in overnight. My eye was puffy, and I laughed. If I was going to get a Black Friday black eye, at least I had a pitiful story about it!
Sometimes we have cuts and bruises because life is pressing in around us. Other times, we simply don’t watch what we’re doing. We make choices – a bit carelessly at times – and we reap the consequences.
I don’t think we need to tiptoe through life and wrap ourselves in bubble wrap to stay safe – physically, emotionally, or relationally. I think God wants more for and from us than that. We might bleed from time to time, and we might get a black eye or headache, but that’s a cost of engaging with life and having some adventures.