Appearances, bad days, community, & envy…

I had a little trouble focusing on my regular shop at my usual centre this morning, after a two week break on a very quiet island with no shops and very few people this time of the year. My personal space & sensitivity to noise & human bustle had increased more than I had expected.

When I was finally ready to pay for my parking, I found someone had left their ticket behind. I was actually quite relieved, & commented to the lady next to me that it seemed I wasn’t the only one having a day like that. I then carefully put the card on top of the machine for the person to find when they came back for it. But I found myself searching the crowd, trying to guess the owner as I wheeled my trolley to the car. No one seemed to fit my expectations…

As I got to my car, I saw a lady at her boot (trunk for Americans). It was the most immaculately packed boot of groceries I had ever seen! The bags were all colour co-ordinated and packed in a neat grid structure. I just stood & stared in awe, it was better than an add. I knew I could never be that organised, not even on my good days.

You can imagine my surprise therefore, when she closed the boot & looked back at me in agitation & exclaiming that she could not fine where she’d put her ticket. But my surprise was more than matched when I smiled gently and said “don’t worry, its waiting for you on the machine”. The initial relief and happiness was amazing. When she returned & muttered something about age, I was filled with joy as I could put her mind at ease that I, & plenty of others like me, have done it too, and that its not got anything to do with age. By the time she got to the car she looked like she was dancing, and her voice had notes of laughter in it.

What a privilege to share our lives with others till we can separate smiling. Today, we were both tempted to envy, but for such little things. I’m glad we could overcome it & be real. Too often we cling to our ficade but not only does it prevent us from getting help, it also prevents us from being able to help others…

Proverbs 14:30 (ESV)
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.


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