Sunday I Fell in Love

Lunch with the Women’s Fellowship. Photo by Gracious Server at the Rose Canyon Cantina
June, 2012. 

It Came From Nowhere
You know how you always remember the moment you fell in love? Here’s mine: I was standing in church last Sunday, between my husband, Rich, and our dear friend Mike. We’re singing Therefore the Redeemed of the Lord and from the corner of my eye I see our friends Robert and Jeremy making their way up the side aisle to slip into a pew.

It’s the way they carry their hats, holding the brim with both hands like you hold a steering wheel, that undoes me. Standing and singing I realize:

I love this body of believers, I love our pastor, I love the Women’s Fellowship ladies I had lunch with the day before, I love the slightly worn carpet, blue like an ’86 Buick, in our sanctuary. I love the wall furnace next to our pew. I love the shiny urn that brews coffee for fellowship hour.

I love this church.  Tears well and I linger long at fellowship hour, marinating in the grace that brought us to this body of believers.

Later I hurry to the grocery store, intent on gathering delicacies in preparation for my beloved niece Vaite’s visit from Tahiti. Outside the front door, Grant offers me a shopping cart, and I tell him how grateful I am that when we need food, I can just come here and buy it. We don’t have to grow it and tend it and harvest it, don’t have to raise it and slaughter it and butcher it. Other people do that hard work; I have but to select and pay. Grant smiles and nods and agrees with me that the grocery store blesses us.

Inside I begin in Produce, as I always do, thumping the melons and sniffing the cherries, intent on selecting the sweetest fruits I can find. Keith, my greengrocer, hustles over to verify my melon selection. He hands me a nectarine. “Twist it like a Rubik’s Cube,” he tells me, and I see that he’s cut the fruit, easing my enjoyment of it. I move on to the butcher case and Andrew looks a bit preoccupied, but he selects the steaks for me and counts out the shrimp to my order. We chat for a moment: He’s okay. And it hits me all over again, just as the woman in line behind me at the meat case comments that she likes this grocery store:

I love this supermarket. I sniffle a bit as I take the butcher-wrapped parcels that Andrew offers me. How many people get to shop in a store they love?

Affection for my grocery store–for the people who bring pride to their work here–overwhelms me.

In the egg department I point out a few cartons with broken shells to Ryan, who’s working around the corner stocking cheeses, and he whisks them away from public view, stashing them behind the swinging doors that mask the mysterious warehouse. Before I leave I peek at the Starbucks counter, and yes, my friend Patti is working, so I stop to say hello and order frappuccinos to go, thinking of Rich, who’s mopping the floor at home as I shop. A new bagger pushes my cart to the parking lot and loads my purchases into the car. I remind myself to learn his name.

As I fasten my seatbelt in the parking lot, something feels different as I stretch the belt from shoulder down to hip.

I’m having some kind of heart attack. It feels like stone, softening bit by bit.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV)