The Wonders of Shopping

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Even as a doctor – or maybe because I am a doctor – I don’t feel qualified to speculate on how the Almighty goes about his work. But I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing and that he has a wicked sense of justice and humor. Otherwise, why should I have found myself on a sunny Southern Sunday not at the beach or on a verdant grassy hillside but inside a big-box store? (I don’t want to give free advertising to the big-box store, but its name starts with a “W” and ends in “mart.”)

I whisked through the dog food section, piling up treats for Rex, my vicious doberman. OK, he’s some mild-mannered dachshund hybrid named Pal. But he still eats a lot.

Then it was on to the grocery shelves, located approximately 100 yards across the store and half a mile north. I pushed my cart swiftly past the endless racks of men’s and women’s garments, made the turn at the pastry display and headed for the bottled water aisle, just visible in the distance. I made that trek because this particular outfit bottles its own flavored water and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted.

So, I guess I will give at least that endorsement.

After loading up a dozen bottles or so, I headed for the checkout lanes, which I could almost see in the distance if I squinted really hard. Then my luck kicked in. I cruised past the hardy souls scanning and packing their own purchases at the self-serve stations and beelined it to the lone checkout lane with an actual human checker.

My shopping day complete, I headed for my truck. Just as I arrived at my pretty remote spot, a low-slung, high-gloss, top-of-the-line new sedan pulled in next to me. I looked on as a smartly-dressed older woman probably coming straight from church – it was Sunday after all – struggled to get out.
I wished her a good day and asked if I could help.

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“No,” she almost whispered. “It’s just my ribs They’re all broke.”

That all her ribs were broken seemed unlikely. Nonetheless, I told her she should take my cart to have something to lean on as she headed for the store.

“That’s a blessing,” she said, accepting my offer.

“How did you hurt your ribs?’ I inquired, knowing that a fall could really damage a senior citizen’s body.

“I was in a terrible car crash,” she said softly. “I had the green light, and I was hit by a big old cement truck going 50 miles an hour. Crushed my car and almost crushed me.”

My heart went out to her for her pain, but at least she was still alive.

“It was horrible,” she went on. “But it was a blessing,”

Taken aback I asked her, “How could a horrible accident that totaled your car and broke all your ribs be a blessing?”

She gave me a sweet little smile and explained, “I was blessed with this brand-new much better fancy car!”

As she wheeled my cart away, I could swear I saw her give a little hop and a skip up the sidewalk. That sweet church lady really knew her blessings! And where they came from.

By Dr. Duke

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