Daily Encounters: Soul Work in the World

Who knew that a trip to the grocery store would restore my soul?

Most Thursday mornings I do the week’s grocery shopping. I shop early when there are few people, and I can move through the aisles quickly and easily and not experience long lines at the check-out counter. That has worked well for me during this long COVID interim.

The cashier always asks if I have found everything on my list, and most days I can say “yes.” Occasionally, however, I have replied that I needed to substitute for a favorite brand or had to adjust my planned menu, but I always added, “No problem. I have no reason to complain about anything.” The cashier always seems grateful for my positive response.

What I could add most weeks is that I found more than what was on my list.

Sometimes in the aisles I find connection and a sense of community. I find warmth and pleasant openness.

An example. One of the carry-out workers, who has worked in the store for years and who happens to be mentally challenged, eagerly told a man working in the produce section about his favorite team in the state high school basketball tournament. He knew what he was talking about, and the produce worker responded with both respect and enthusiasm. After the conversation ended, I commented to the produce worker about the positive interaction and the meaningful atmosphere that creates. He brushed off my thanks and replied, “We are all responsible for one another.”

He restoreth my soul.

And then I realized a woman was standing behind me. It was clear she was waiting to add produce to her cart.

“I am so sorry,” I said, “for blocking your way.”

Instead of showing irritation or ignoring me, she said, “No need to apologize. I have all the time in the world.” We smiled at one another each time we encountered one another in other aisles.

She restoreth my soul.

I finished shopping and another carry-out person came to pack my groceries and he said, “I saw you come in and I wondered if I would pack for you.” We chatted all the way to the car or should I say, he chatted all the way to the car, and we both wished each other a good rest of the day. We both meant it.

He restoreth my soul.

I have to believe such encounters restore the world’s soul. And we need that.

An Invitation

When have you experienced soul restoring moments? I would love to know.

4 thoughts on “Daily Encounters: Soul Work in the World

  1. A challenged young man was bagging my groceries…he held up the cookies I had purchased and asked if I had ever tried them before…I said “No”..he proceeded to say…”well that just goes to show that you are never too old to try something new”………..I thought I would cry I laughed so hard……..

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  2. I think you ran into me! During the whole pandemic I have said, “I have all the time in the world.”

    Yes, being gracious at the grocery store has become a new thing. I, too, am thrilled when I find what I came to buy, but accept the fact that is not always the case. The checkout clerks and I have many discussions along this line. I do my best to say upbeat because I know they have some customers who give them a hard time.

    My husband had another procedure scheduled on Monday, very early, and upon getting there found that it could not be done due to not knowing the material of the rings that put his sternum back together after heart surgery. The technician was very apologetic and Terry brushed it off as things that happen. She told him she appreciated his attitude because they have so many patients now who take out anger and frustration on the staff . As your produce clerk stated, we are all responsible for each other.

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