November 20, 2011

divine reminders

It was a hectic morning. With Thanksgiving coming up, the Well was crazy. And since I sort of thrive in chaos, I didn't hate it - it was kind of fun if a little exhausting. But by the time I got out of there, my entire self was moving a mile a minute. My brain was buzzing and I had pretty much forgotten all about stillness. Now, if you haven't read what I wrote about stillness on Wednesday, go do it real fast. We'll wait.

So I run out of the Well and remember that if I'm going to bake this afternoon, I'd better stop by the store and get some chocolate chips on my way home. To be perfectly candid, as I was leaving, I had a little sad moment. I don't know what it was - because I didn't even take a second to identify it before I was in full-swing go-mode and had successfully forgotten that there had even been sadness to begin with. Which is, to be clear, exactly the opposite of what I learned from the lady eating soup. She was but a distant memory as I walked into the store, still doing six things at once, still not in any way still

I grabbed some chocolate chips and some cuties clementines because they were the perfect shade of orange that you know they'll be delicious and I walked towards self-checkout, and you guys, I am not kidding you: there, right in front of me, shuffling through the store in the exact same jacket I wrote about on Wednesday, was the lady eating soup. She's perhaps been to the hairdresser since last we met but it was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, her.

After I registered who she was, I got very awkward and ducked back into the baking aisle and feigned interest in muffin mixes until she passed by. She was, of course, entirely oblivious to the absurd reality that someone I wrote about randomly in a Panera less than a week ago was now in front of me in a grocery store that was on a completely different side of town than said Panera. I mean, really? That's just plain crazy. 

I told my friend that story today and her response, I think, says it better than I could. After hearing about the lady eating soup and her valiant reappearance in my life today, she just looked at me and said:

"Stop it. Jesus!!"

My friend is right; it was. And the message I saw in the lady eating soup was to stop. So, I did. And I was sad a little, sure, but it's okay that I was sad because that's just what I was today I guess. And you can't be anything other than what you are, so that's that then. My big issue with stopping is that sometimes when you stop, when you're still, there are feelings to contend with. Which is in large part why I am opposed to being still in the first place. Which is I'm pretty sure why the lady who ate soup showed up in my day today. 

I wonder if she knows. I wonder if she has any idea that a chaotic twenty-something is getting seemingly divine reminders of stillness from her. I wonder if she feels a little tug and quietly knows, in her peaceful sort of way, that she made a difference in a life. I still really can't believe that I saw her again. It just seems like a lot of work, I guess; bringing that poor old woman all the way to the grocery store by my church, far away from the Panera where she eats soup, just to remind me to be still. But it's an important lesson, isn't it? So important that I needed to hear it twice in 4 days, apparently. 

I suppose I'd better listen. Mostly because if I'm faced with a third encounter with the lady eating soup, I'd have no choice but to talk to her. And we all know how awkward I can be.


B-rad said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for the reminder. I'm going to go do nothing but sip coffee for a while now.

sarahannnoel said...

Okay. I'm really angry. Because I haven't seen you in so long and that means it took me this long to realize that you were now attending a different church?!

Please come over.