I found myself able to etch out an hour or so yesterday evening to make a serious grocery shopping haul. It’s been a while since I’ve spent that long in a store stocking up.
I made a rookie mistake from the start. Cart choice.
The cart I chose was too small for all I needed to get. And the way the wheels rolled were wonky. Ka-dump, ka-dump, ka-dump. All the way through the store.
But I persevered nonetheless, and I was about a third of the way through the store when an elderly gentleman walked slowly past me, looking perplexed. I couldn’t help it–it had probably been twenty minutes since I had talked to anyone, so the side of me that I get from my Mama took over, and I asked him if he was looking for something.
Turns out he was looking for the jelly. My mind spun around and it took me a minute to get my bearings. And then I remembered. “Over by the bread,” I told him and gave him the directions to find it.
He smiled and was on his way.
For whatever reason, I came across two others lost, looking for a particular something in the store I’ve come to know pretty well (of course now that I do, they are going to change it all up in the next couple of months)–one was looking for juice and the other for aluminum foil. I was able to recall locations and give directions both times. (No small feat–busy store, long list, I was a bit befuddled at best.)
This evening I saw something that never fails to take my breath away.
A river of birds.
When I see them, I always think of our friend Pastor Bill who shared about the river of birds at our cousin’s memorial service almost two years ago.
I was so thankful to see them. It had been a long and tiring day, and when I lifted my eyes to see them, my spirits lifted a bit as well. I realized I’d been feeling a little lost today myself.
The birds were all flying together, in one direction. Sharing the journey. So that not one got lost on its way.
You know what those soaring wonders, flowing along so gracefully, taught me?
Don’t go it alone.
Tonight I’m thankful for folks who are brave enough to ask for directions when they feel lost and are looking for something. They remind me to have courage to do the same when I’m searching for something or someone and can’t find my way. I’m also thankful for the beauty in the journey when it’s taken together–how it makes the work of living a little easier with folks all around you headed on the same path.
May we too learn from the birds, and find ourselves surrounded by folks who can take turns leading and following and guiding us on our way. May we never be truly alone for long, and when we are, I hope we can all find someone to ask for directions who might be willing to travel alongside us for a bit.
Love to all.