I was exhausted.
My wallet with my cell phone was gone. $478.00 worth of groceries sat neatly bagged in my cart. The strategic purchases, intended to nourish and bless, were now the bane of some minimum wage worker’s existence.
If I felt debauched about the hard work of grocery shopping for not, he felt even worse that he would spend the next hour returning my items to the shelf.
The cashier and he whispered to each other. The next person in line looked at me with pity.
Tears stung my eyes. Humiliation hued my cheeks. Panic warmed my torso.
Where was my wallet?
And my phone! My phone, with all the pictures on it!
A manager came in response to the blinking isle #8 beacon. He joined in the whispering and then tossed a look my way. Methodically he tugged at a key bound to his wrist by this green, rubbery, spiral key chain.
As if in slow motion I watched as his managerial key slipped into the register’s keyboard.
He turned it, punched some buttons and the screen inquired, “ARE YOU SURE?” and he hit another button and the screen said, “TRANSACTION SUSPENDED.”
Metaphorical salt assaulted my wounds.
I apologized… again. I wandered back to my car. I pulled my keys out of my purse. In the bottom of my oversized bag there was a size 5 diaper and an Elmo container of wipes, my lipstick, a half eaten Power bar, a pack of gum, lavender essential oil, a blue pen, and my Pulitzer prize winning grocery list.
Where were my wallet and phone?
I unlocked the car and climbed inside.
I sat staring mindlessly when a tap on my window startled me out of my comatose brain burp.
It was the lady from behind me in line.
I rolled down my window.
“Honey, I am so sorry that you lost your wallet and phone. If I’d had it I would have bought your things.”
“Oh, thank you.” I stammered, trying not to break into heaving sobs.
“I will be praying for you. And don’t worry Shoog. God’s got this.”
“Thanks.” I managed.
A twinge of guilt washed over me. I should’ve been nicer. I was too wrecked for pleasantries. I just sat watching patrons shuffling in and out of the store. I witnessed a scuffle between a morbidly obese woman and an elderly man over a motorized scooter/basket. The manager with the power to eradicate my transaction came running out to break up the battle.
I lost interest.
“God’s got this … SHOOG.” I said satirically out loud. I rolled my eyes and snorted. Talking to myself only added to the mockery. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a huge black truck impatiently waiting for me to move from my parking space.
He’d have to wait. I wasn’t moving. The pity party was staying right here. Row 7 Aisle B.
I mouthed, “Go find another space SHOOG!”
He flipped me off and peeled out.
“I hate you too!” I barked.
I imagined my wine returning to its place on the shelf and I finally let loose and cried.
I felt stupid. I hated to waste time. At the same time, I felt tremendous guilt. Who was I to feel anything but blessed? I had grocery money. I wasn’t having to chase down an antelope, skin, salt and roast it. I was at a nice grocery store. Well, Walmart. The work required for me to feed my family was void of hauling water, attempting to make fire, or the risk of dysentery.
Still, I had failed.
An image flashed in my mind and cried harder.
The image had haunted me for days. And now, here in my fancy Buick, I cried over Cheezits, Chardonnay, and bagged organic spinach. Somewhere there is an imaginary mark drawn. I stand between the mark of being a spoiled American begging God to let the line move quicker at Starbucks and the heartbroken daughter of the God of Israel wanting to save the world.
I prayed/gripped, “I need my wallet. I want my phone back. I am sorry to bother you. You have babies left in the wilderness to die…” Sobs escaped me. “But, I need your help too.”
I felt ridiculous. How do I, in all my fluff ask God to cover my foolishness? The image flashed in my head again. And I prayed out loud.
“God, help those who are suffering.”
I stared at the ongoing brawl over the motorized basket, a policeman pulled up and the obese woman was flailing her arms and screaming.
I struggle with all of this.
An affluence and an entitlement, Americans in our abundance and comfort… and yet, I need God’s help. I need Him. And no, I won’t put this on Facebook – the trials of a lost wallet and how good God is.
Although He is.
There is a sacrilege I wrestle with between my basic needs, stuff I just want, and stuff I know must be priority.
And my mom used to say, if one of you had cancer I’d still help my other children with their homework. So, yes, God is big enough to both save a boy abandoned in the wilderness.
And help me find my wallet… but I can’t help but recognize the ridiculousness of asking Him for help when there is REAL suffering. I grapple with my first world struggles and the cries of the oppressed… Why does He move the way He move, and save the way He saves?
Why does He allow the ridiculous to win the battle for the scooter to buy an abundance of over-processed white bread and junk, while an elderly man limps back to His car empty handed?
Alas, I love God, and I trust Him. So I whimper. “God, please, help me find my wallet…” And whether He was in the car with me, escorting the elderly man to a different store or wandering in the wilderness with lost and abandoned little boys… saving the world – I saw with fresh eyes, my wallet and phone on the floorboard of the passenger side of my car.
He’s got this… SHOOG.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Psalm 4:1 (NASB) “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.”
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