It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit this morning when I headed out to the shops for groceries. The sky was just beginning to lighten; the commuters were still safely sequestered in their homes.
Early to rise and eager to be about business, my motivation was not to be a busy bee nor necessarily productive. I was up early and eager to be busy because I was
offended by annoyed at a neighbor. Thoughts of vengeance flitted across my mind and thoughts of indignation flirted with my emotions. I was up early and eager to be busy simply because it was wisest to be.
Parking was in abundance, of course, at this time of morn. There were few other shoppers to pose as obstacles. I ticked through my list quickly and efficiently; not one item was overlooked. Home again I arrived just as society began to rise. The secret of my pajamas still worn underneath the winter parka gave me a self-satisfied smile. The neighbor was off the property and I could return to bed.
Sorting through the groceries, I recognized a familiar sight. The shop clerk had sorted and bagged the groceries by similar items and so his work was done. The tins and bottled juices together were bagged; actually they were double bagged to protect the contents. The refrigerated items were together in another bag and so too were the paper products. Fruit and bread were given special care, as they were easily damaged.
While this may seem a rational system to some, I shook my head on the dawning of this new day. Looking at these items from my perspective, all that I see is that heavy items are paired with other heavy items and light items paired with light. I appreciate the double bagging of the heavy items to protect them, but it does nothing to ease the weight of them while there are multiple bags that are light enough that those multiple bags I can carry all at one time. Occasionally I am served by a sensitive clerk who distributes the weight according to my ability without a suggestion or prompting.
With the gurgling of the coffee pot behind me and the bubbling of my bowl of oatmeal beside me, I listened and heard a deeper message on the dawning of this new day. How often we categorize life like bags of groceries. Together we bundle all the heaviness and the pain, careful to double bag to protect. Together we bundle all the sweet things and all the healthy things, swooping them all up in one rush. Quickly we dispense those but it is with the heavy baggage we struggle. Every betrayal, every offense, all sources of pain, all sources of rejection we wrap up in a collection. We are determined to carry the weight, often putting a double layer of protection around it. Would it not be wise, would it not be more bearable to unpack them and distribute their marks across the Bread of Life and the sweetness of the soul?
Sorting this new message, from the background I heard the radio. A worship leader was the DJ for the morning show, replacing the usual morning personality. From the background, this new message was reiterated with “I Have a Song“. It is a song based on Habakkuk 3:17-18; it is a praise that when life is out of control, there is still joy and Joy will not abandon you when everything is falling apart. Then as that morning radio show progressed into regularly scheduled ministries, I was reminded by Jill Briscoe from Telling the Truth, Gethsemane – Not as I Will… Oh, there is no doubt that my thoughts and mental schemes throughout the dark of the night was not good and perfect.
How foolish it seems to not take the time and redistribute the groceries of life. For if we do not, we will grow very, very tired of dragging the weight behind us. As if confirmation must come times three, while I am writing this post, a comment on an older post–a post written by me, no less–comes through. That older post, what might it be? Anger Ebbs and Flows, Hides and Rides.
The irony of this new day has not ended. You see, on Thursday of last week, I ordered The Gift of Flowers (anonymously) for this neighbor. They were to be delivered on Friday but on Friday afternoon, the florist informed me that the delivery would take place on Monday–today–instead. The note attached to those flowers? Redeemed, Brand New.
I look about my apartment and see the many boxes that have already been sorted and packed. I see the empty ones in the corner waiting to be filled. I must get busy. There’s still lots to do.