This line came to me last night at dinner as I was telling TJ a bit about a friend of mine who is facing some difficulties at present. Because TJ knows I'm always interjecting our conversations with Anne Lamott quotes, he asked if that was something she said. Nope, just Ginger.
In just the past two days, I've run into two friends and two acquaintances in various stores while I was out shopping. The two friends, separate from one another, both told me that they had an intuition they would run into me that day. I think that's neat, but a tiny bit spooky also.
I am convinced that God orchestrates our paths so that we are brought into the most ordinary moments of others. Trader Joe's is as good a place as any to stand and talk to someone who needs encouragement and reminders of God's presence. Rod Whitacre says that God is more present in the room than we are, but I think he meant Trader Joe's too.
This friend and I, we stood there yesterday between the chips and the frozen vegetables and talked about the challenges of life, things like having parents and siblings who are broken, knowing how to feed our kids, and trying to care for ourselves on afternoons when we hardly know what we need. We saw Jesus in our husbands who took off work to be home with the kids, especially the husband who can't do a thing like that except he did. This surprise meeting of souls brought the blessing of fifteen minutes with nothing but the other person in focus, to see and to hear and to give and to be given to. This noticing properly is not a thing to be taken lightly.
Thinking back on the day, I realize how grateful I am for the gift of being allowed into a discouraging or just plain ordinary moment of another person. I also realize that a crossing of paths is a reminder not to miss what is happening all around us. God, why this person on this day? You make insignificant things significant all the time, and I want to see it and join this good work.
My friend is in a difficult spot, but noticing properly, thanks to an unexpected meeting in Trader Joe's, means I won't let her fall off the edge. I'll offer to watch her kids some morning soon and give her time to rest. I'll pray for her. I'll text her to offer friendship and solidarity. And of course, I'll look for her in Trader Joe's next time too.