To Read on the Journey

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ugly grocery stores

he lives in food maxx' parking lot.

because we can't afford to shop at the  "pretty grocery stores," 
i've seen him there.  seen him a number of times.

in the evenings, after the manager goes home, he collects grocery carts.
he doesn't get paid, but he works anyway.  works hard.
i think a man needs to work to know he is necessary.  The first thing God did after creating adam was put him to work {naming the animals}.  no one, including adam, wants to feel insignificant.
i've seen him finish up his work then retire for the evening to his home.  his home of blankets and black garbage bags on the sidewalk beside a building that shields him from the elements.  he barricaded his home with shopping carts and boxes while i drove away with my loving family in my toasty s.u.v.

during the day he offers flowers in the parking lot in exchange for a bit of change.  flowers that appear to have been retrieved from yesterday's trash. i give him a few dollars, gladly take my bruised flowers. a few can be salvaged, but i know it isn't the flowers i want, it's the reminder to pray for God to magnify His mercy on this man, this child of His, on this frigid December day.

the flat-out truth about me is i waver between complaining about shopping at the "ugly grocery store," where i have to bag my own groceries and shop among the food stamp and w.i.c. coupon holders {of which i have been one}, and being grateful for my cart filled to the brim with food to feed my family for 2 weeks for under $200.  i am wretched sometimes.

but today, with flowers in one hand, i grab my husband's hand and say, "i'm glad we can't afford to shop at the 'pretty grocery store.' "  he responds knowing, "because we wouldn't see him." "yes,"  i say.

we wouldn't see him, and be put to work too...praying- bringing this man and his needs before God, petitioning the Spirit to illuminate his mind, heart, and soul with God's Truth and deep love for him, praising God that there is always Hope in Him. 
we wouldn't see him, and experience the Spirit of God growing us in compassion and grace {God  knows i desperately need growth in these areas}.
we wouldn't see him,  and be humbled by Holy, personified in a homeless man.


Laura said...

THANK YOU GOD for leading me to you..this post...the Truth!

I can say so much about this...
about where I shop...
how I can't afford to buy my own groceries...
how I look at the bagger bagging the groceries my father has had to pay for and think "Get a job Laura"...
how I , too, have seen the face of God in the most unlikely of places
and how despite my strong constant challenge and strive to build a life on solid ground...I always fail to remember that GOD HAS PLACED ME HERE
I am where I need to be
and if for one moment I stop complaining
or crying
or worrying
and just be still
I will see Him
and I will be comforted

I am officially your biggest blog fan now :-)
thank you for being a living example of The Gospel
enjoy your flowers
they are beautiful

Chef Sugar said...

I loved this.....such a reminder to be grateful and humble, especially this time of year.

May your lovely family have a blessed Christmas!

Jules said...

You made me smile. I shop at ugly grocery stores too. My opportunities came with a bag of childrens clothes for which I purchased with out a child to wear the little things.
Those prompts are precious.

aPearantly sew said...

This post broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It makes me remember a day last year that I swung into the local McDonald's, just to use the restroom. As I was leaving, I saw an elderly gentlemen with his belongings, sitting on the curb behind the restaurant. I left, but felt drawn back to him. I went and sat with him, and talked to him for a long time. I gave him a bit of money, but I can assure that I was blessed that day far more than he was. He was such a precious man, and as he told me his story, it reminded me how very lucky I was. How blessed and comfortable and happy we are.

hannah singer said...

praise jesus for ugly shops and the beauty that lives where they are. praise jesus for open eyes and heavenward hearts.
praise jesus for your example, you shine him, friend. by his grace, you bless me.

i need you, you know.
much love for a happy thursday xo

Linda Z said...

I love your heart, friend. Thank you for feeding that man in Jesus name. Jesus is beautiful in you.

Laurie J said...

you have a precious heart. i love your focus on this man and his needs--truly what Jesus wants of us

deb colarossi said...

the work part got me.
I think there are needy souls in the pretty stores too of course,

but this part about seeing him work? slays me.


{cuppakim} said...

love this denise. and i love that those bruised flowers on your tabletop say so much more than an unbruised flower would. and isn't that what flowers are for in the first place?

Heather :: AFD Jewelry :: said...

This is a beautiful post, Denise!

Jessica Johnson said...

i love you. and i love this story alot. hope you had a merry christmas. and that you always go to the ugly grocery store. xxoo