I'm trying to figure out how to do this: my niece is getting married at the end of November down in Nashville, and my son will be coming home for Thanksgiving break right about that time. Do I fly him home as I am flying down to the wedding? Should we all drive down to Nashville, then slip on over to Kentucky, pick him up, and then head home? Will Bill be able to get away from work (and thank God He has work right now) or should I just fly down with Abby?
The key thing is we need to celebrate our niece/godchild's wedding but we also are trying to figure out how to get Alex home; how to get him home safely.
I'm about to head out to my daughter's rec basketball game this afternoon and then I'm going to do one of my favorite things, as of late: grocery shopping. I don't know why it ministers to my soul so much, but so much goes through my mind as I shop for food: thank God we have money to buy food, thank God we have such abundance to choose from, remember last Thanksgiving and how rich and full we felt?, and oh, I can't wait to see my son and cook for him and hug him tightly. Thinking of cooking for my son makes think of all the ingredients I need for bread, for cakes, for my special chili recipe. I whiz through the grocery store with zeal and feel like a kid in a candy shop.
I have a favorite bagger that I look for. His name is Dan. I try to get in the check out line where Dan is the bagger because he's so sincere, so invigorated to do this simple job of packing the groceries carefully in bags-paper or plastic. He might be slightly handicapped concerning his IQ but there is nothing limiting about his joy and his vigor as he packs the groceries and always, always asks me if I need help out to the car. The day I looked at his name tag and answered, "No thanks Dan. I'm all set," he beamed with joy as someone said his name. That's all I did. But he felt significant and important. He wasn't just a bagger- he was Dan, the greatest bagger there is. And that's why I look for him.
I also look for a certain guy at the deli counter. He's farther away from me and maybe its my old aged memory or my bad eyesight, but I haven't been able to read his name tag. But I do know this about him- he's a loving, caring man, and maybe a father. I think that because this is what he says every single time I have taken my package of sliced cheese or honey ham as he hands it over the counter: "Get home safely." He doesn't say thanks for shopping, or have a nice day or come back again. No, he says, "Get home safely." I always feel loved and blessed when he says that to me. There might even be days where I really don't need any honey ham or sliced turkey and yet I am still waiting at the deli counter looking for the man who speaks about our desire to get home where we are safe and loved.
I think of my son far away at college and I care about his journey through life, his journey back home to us for Thanksgiving. I care about any fellow traveler who feels like life is hard and the terrain too rough for them to handle. And even if my words are powerless to improve your journey, my prayers are not. Your prayers are not. So keep on praying. And don't forget to bless someone today with a little benediction that I learned from the man at the deli,
Get home safely, friend.