It was last Saturday, and I thought I would get a jump on my Easter dinner shopping. While I knew there would be items I would need to pick up closer to Easter Sunday, I wanted to get as many things as possible to make my life easier as the holiday drew near.
With a list in hand that seemed way too long, which translated to way too much money, I entered the store with a smile, attempting to keep the spirit of Easter first and foremost in my heart. I love Easter and all it represents. To me, Easter is about second chances, and God knows ... I’ve thankfully been afforded more than just a few second chances.
Up this aisle, down that aisle — I attempted to stay on track with my list (OK, the Easter candy might have not been on the list, but you can’t ignore what only comes around once a year!). My buggy was getting fuller and fuller, and I knew before I headed to the check-out lane, I would be “un-shopping” a few items (except the Easter candy). Sometimes I spend more time putting things back that I really didn’t need rather than just staying with the list.
Anyway ... my shopping trip was a nice little adventure. Trying to stay on track, I kept my head down and walked with intention, especially since the store was full of folks, and I really didn’t have a lot of time for conversations. My goal was to get this task accomplished, take it home, put it away (ugh!) and still have a good share of the weekend day to enjoy.
And then it happened ... Out of absolutely nowhere, she appeared. I was in front of the egg section, trying to decide between large, extra large and jumbo, while simultaneously opening the egg cartons to make sure none of them were cracked before I bought them. A person had pushed their shopping buggy right next to mine — close enough I could feel someone’s presence behind me. I expected to turn around and see a familiar face, however, nothing could have been further from reality. Instead, I turned to see a complete stranger with kind eyes, a warm smile and an empty shopping cart. She looked in my somewhat bewildered eyes as she spoke ...
“I hope you have a blessed Easter,” she said.
OK, I don’t mind telling you her words caught me off guard. I didn’t know this nice lady, and while she might have recognized me from working at this newspaper, she gave me no indication she knew who I was. I smiled at her — somewhat questioningly — and returned her sentiment ...
“Well, you have a great Easter too,” I said.
She then took a few steps away, stopped and turned back toward me. She looked deep into my eyes and said, “The Lord bless and keep you.”
I don’t mind telling you I felt a chill — not a bad one, but a comforting one — run through me.
“And also with you,” I said to her, mimicking words I have often said when I’m sitting in the pew.
She left, walking away from me, and I was deep in thought about this sporadic conversation with a stranger ... or was she? I looked back up to watch her walk away, and I’m not kidding, folks ... the woman was nowhere in sight. She was gone. No kidding. It was maybe all of five seconds, and she had seemingly vanished — buggy and all.
It’s been a week since the aforementioned exchange happened, and I don’t mind telling you, I’ve thought about it several times a day. Call me a little crazy, my friends, but I’ve always been a firm believer that there are angels among us ... Perhaps that day at the grocery? Maybe so. I guess I’ll never know.
What I do know is Easter offers us a second chance. I’d like to believe I got a reminder of that from a woman with kind eyes who touched my heart and breathed life into the Easter story.
May we all be so mindful ... Happy Easter, my friends.
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.