My Life with God

Empty Shelf, Full Aisle

We’ve all experienced challenges with hard-to-find items in grocery aisles and online.

I had mini saltines on my list for awhile. I didn’t need them, but there’s a challenge to find things once I can’t. My mom wanted some, too, so we looked anytime either of us were in a store and thought of them. I kept them on my list, but I didn’t have my list with me. I only planned to pick up a handful of items, so there was no need to refer to my list. I didn’t need anything in the cracker aisle but used it to cut through to another area of the store. I glanced to my side, and they caught my eye—mini saltines.

They were on the bottom shelf in a single row. I grabbed six boxes, three for me and three for my mom. As I put them into my cart, someone coming toward me exclaimed, “Where did you find those?! I’ve been looking for them everywhere for weeks!”

So, I was not alone.

We had a quick conversation, and I mentioned there were only a few left. She mentioned she didn’t need any but would definitely take a box. I told her she could have some of mine if she wanted more than was available. But she insisted she would only take one. I continued down the aisle and glanced back.

She decided to get the few remaining boxes. In one swoop, the store had no more available. Not that either of us took too much, but we each took enough to empty the shelf.

We found a camaraderie in our discovery, the end of our search. And sometimes our connections are that simple and brief—but no less significant. The way we respond in those brief moments, the time we take, the eye contact we make, the attention we give, the kindness we share all make a difference.

Why not share? Our lives are not to be spent on and for ourselves. We don’t have to get something out of every interaction. We might know our perspective and plan the best, but there are plenty of people around us who need a notice and a moment—even if the context seems insignificant.

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