The Sacred in the Mundane

This week has been full of one of my least favorite duties:  running errands. This task has been complicated by my diminishing energy and poor balance. Both of these are improved by the use of a walker, which I usually choose to leave in the car rather than wrestling with it or even worse chasing it around parking lots because I forgot to set the brakes.  

This morning, after three days of pushing myself to get out of the house and GET THINGS DONE!, I really had to talk myself into a fourth day on the road, once again running in and out of places I mostly didn’t want to be in. After breakfast, I complained so much to my husband about the many places I needed to go that he was guilted into asking if I wanted him to go with me. “No,” I said. “That’s not necessary.” I heard him sigh in relief as I limped out the door.

My first stop was the Meijer pharmacy down the street, which I usually visit a few times a week. This time my job was to persuade someone to allow me to purchase a blood pressure medication for my husband with cash (rather than using insurance). I had been told  on May 13 that it couldn’t be filled until May 30.  However, he is already out of them. Since I administer his meds, I know I had not given out too many.  My theory was that someone had put only 30 instead of 60 in the bottle the last time it had been filled.)

So I walked rather tentatively up to the counter and asked the young lady at the computer, (who I knew was just a week or so past her training) if this could be done. She cheerfully attempted the task . . . . and finally said she couldn’t override the May 30 date; I would have to call the insurance company. I sighed and said I didn’t want to argue with the insurance company over $13. 44.  She smiled sympathetically and stared at the computer some more. I was about to leave when she smiled an even bigger smile and said, “I’ll put it as a cash transaction!!!  Do you want me to get started on that now?”  What a dear child!  I was so relieved that I left in a slightly better mood.  Blessing #1.

I moved on to a task I had failed to complete twice before: finding a desperately needed pair of slacks. Fortunately, as I went individually through the tags on about 30 pairs of slacks, I found ONE that was my size. I grabbed it and a shirt that I also needed and went to the dressing room.  Wonder of wonders, they both fit.  Blessing #2!!

I walked to the checkout lanes and found only one lane open in a store that must cover acres. Seven people were ahead of me. I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me about how checkout lines are always an exercise in patience for me. She laughed and said, “I never pray for patience because God always brings situations like this to test me.” We chatted as the line slowly shortened.

By this point my back was really hurting. I mentioned that I should have brought my walker in so I could sit while waiting. She looked down at my cart. “You go first,” she offered. “I have many more items than you do.” At that point, it became her turn. I finally accepted her offer, determined to get through as fast as possible. I had everything ready, the sales person was efficient, and my checkout took about two minutes.  As I left, I thanked her again. Blessing #3!!!

My next stop was about 20 minutes away. The day before, a person I have known for nearly 20 years in a professional capacity, who is also caring for a sick husband, told me that the VA had just given him a new inhaler prescription. He asked her to look for someone to give his unopened Symbicort inhalers to. She offered them to me. I hesitated because they might not be the exact prescription but made arrangements  to pick them up today – which I did. When I got home, I saw that they are exactly the same inhalers that Fred uses.  Blessing  #4!!!!

The library was my next stop. I was excited to pick up a brand new mystery which I had put on hold. Three times I tried to check the book out. Three times the system said it couldn’t process my account.  Just as I was trying for a fourth time, a librarian appeared.  She said that the system had been shutting down all day.  She typed exactly what I had, but she must have had a magic touch, because it worked for her. Blessing #5 !!!!!

After a stop at the bank, I had come full circle.  As I drove in the Meijer parking lot and got in the drive-through lane to pick up Fred’s prescription, I was so hoping that there would be no glitch. The same young woman waited on me, and it was music to my ears to hear her say, “Here you are. I’ll put your change in the bag.” I thanked her again for making this important medication available for my husband

As I drove home, I thought about all of the holy moments I had experienced in these two hours. In the midst of my routine, mundane tasks, I had been blessed with several small but meaningful acts of kindness; several people had acted like Jesus. As an ever – learning Apprentice of Jesus, I was reminded again to look for evidence of his care and protection in every boring or difficult task I encounter.  If I do that, these tasks can become blessings.

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1 Response to The Sacred in the Mundane

  1. Ruth Evenhouse says:

    Thank you for this post, Karen. It is truly a blessing to be alert to such moments.

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