Church of the Grocery Lineup

I have an odd take on the word “church”: to me it’s any place where two or more people make spiritual contact, where they connect at a selfless level.  The Real Canadian SuperStore qualifies.

Yesterday I had just a few items to pick up.  Having accumulated two tubs of cottage cheese, two plastic boxes of blueberries, six red peppers and a brick of mozzarella cheese, I took an infrequent trip down the express lane.  Piece of cake to be on my way in a minute or two.

The woman ahead of me had her twelve or fewer items spread out on the conveyor belt.  But her box of tea bags was scanning with the regular price, not the cool deal she had seen in the coffee and tea aisle.  The cashier called for help on the phone but nobody was available to answer right away.  My cuppa friend glanced at the growing line of folks and gave me a tight little smile.  “It’s okay,” I said with a grin.  “Life happens.”

Part of me wanted to turn back to the customers behind me.  I knew they were there.  I wanted to chat with them but I sensed that I would be drawn into the play of hurry and contraction.  So I didn’t rotate to face them.  The woman on pause in front of me didn’t need that.  She hadn’t done anything wrong.  She just wanted to get the right price.  She tossed a bigger smile my way and I responded in kind.  It was our shared church service.

Several minutes later, after the correct price was located (my friend’s price), and points had been recalculated,  she turned to leave.  The “Thank  you” that flowed from her mouth to my heart went down deep.

My turn.  No price worries with my bundle of goodies.  “I’m sorry for the delay, sir.”  “Not important,” I replied.  Co-smiles.  As I picked up the two bags to leave, I looked at my companions to the rear.  The four humans there all seemed calm.  One was laughing with her neighbour.  Just laughing, not laughing at.

I like being in church.



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