Today was grocery shopping day for the Stewards. One of the drawbacks of living in, well to be honest the middle of nowhere, is that you are limited in your shopping options. For anything other than the most basic of items you either need to order on-line or travel a fair distance to secure the needed items. So once or twice a month Jackie and I travel an hour away to fill our grocery list. It is quite the ordeal and to be honest one we put off as long as we possibly can.
We have our system down pat. I take the big cart which I will fill with all the non-perishable items and Jackie takes the small cart which he will fill with all things requiring refrigeration. (The cart system was his idea. I can take no credit !) We stay together for a while as the produce section is first. After we are done in the produce section we split up some as Jackie heads out to find the items on his list and I go after mine.
And that's when it never fails to hit me. Alone in the first canned goods isle looking at olives or pickles or Miracle Whip, I think about a time when looking at condiments was a luxury I couldn't afford. Looking at just about anything was a luxury I couldn't afford. Every Saturday after work, I would stop at the grocery store on the way home with a list of things I needed that my $30.00 budget wouldn't allow me to fill. I needed it to feed me and buy dog food for the week. You know as silly as it sounds a grocery store is one of the saddest places a lonely, hungry person can be. I cannot tell you how many times I fought back tears in the middle of the grocery store desperately wanting a reason to hope and hold on.
But despite the outward bleakness of my life all those years, there was just always something deep within my soul that kept me going. Kept me from giving up and in a way which I cannot explain, I just knew someday my life would get better. I cannot ever remember a time when I didn't believe in God and Jesus. I can remember as a young child trying to read the Bible I was given in Sunday school at St. Phillips church in 1970, but never really understanding the words that I read. All I really understood was that God was someone to be afraid of. It would be a very long time until I understood and know what I know now. God wouldn't let me give up. It was Him who kept me going all along.
Tomorrow Jackie and I will celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary and in those ten years God has blessed me beyond belief. After a lifetime searching for happiness, I now have a life I never even knew to ask God for. So while I thank God multiple times each day for all that He has given me, it is in the grocery store when I am the most humbled and grateful for the groceries in my basket.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.