A time for everything

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The store is crowded today. I am running behind in my schedule, so I rush through the sliding doors to get ahead of several other people who were walking in front of me. While looking down at my shopping list I turn a corner sharply and bump into an elderly lady who was surveying the shelves for pickled okra. As we collide, her glasses fall to the ground.

The store is crowded today. I am running behind in my schedule, so I rush through the sliding doors to get ahead of several other people who were walking in front of me. While looking down at my shopping list I turn a corner sharply and bump into an elderly lady who was surveying the shelves for pickled okra. As we collide, her glasses fall to the ground.

Embarrassed, I quickly say “I’m sorry” and pick up her frames off the floor. She has a frown on her face and does not seem to notice that one of her lenses is missing but I do not have time to wait for a scolding so I hurry on my way.

Shortly, I am ready to leave but all lines are backed up. I rush to the only open self-serve kiosk pushing myself in front of a clean cut, young man wearing mechanics overalls. He looks a bit miffed and irritated, but I am too late to be sympathetic or courteous, so Ipunch the English button and scan my items. As I key in my pin number, several customers begin inching their way forward practically breathing down my neck like a pack of wolves.

But I am losing time and need to get to work, so I shoot out the door leaving my cart in front of them at the kiosk. As I rush out, I whisk past several Girl Scouts selling cookies at a table. On the fly they smile and ask me if I could support their troop, but I am in a hurry so I pat my pockets and say I am out of cash, feeling my money clip that is full of cash.

One of their dads is dressed in his patrolman’s uniform and gives me a sullen look as I dart past. I turn around just in time to see an SUV slamming on the brakes. Then looking down at my wristwatch and back at the driver I shake my fist at them and trip over the island curb.

Shaken, I survey the parking lot and notice the elderly lady with the missing lens pushing her shopping cart into the cart corral. She misses the opening by half a cart, opens the door of her 63’ Bel Air coup and sinks down to the exact height of the dash board. Meanwhile her cart begins to slowly roll away. As the cart picks up momentum, I realize it is pointed directly at my car. I know in my mind that if I could fly I still would never make it in time.

While looking at the new dent in my door, I watch the Chevy Bel Air getting away. I begin pursuit and speed through a school zone going slightly over 45 miles an hour. Several parents honk their horns at me to slow down but I am losing sight of the perpetrator and push the accelerator to the floor. Something catches my eye in my rear view mirror and I watch in horror as the flashing red lights of the patrol car invite me to pull over.

“Where’s the fire?” asks the patrolman with a smile as he begins writing in his little yellow ticket book. I tell him about the okra lady, the runaway shopping cart and the new dent in my door.

He removes his sunglasses and glares at me “Do you know how fast you were going? No? Well I do, because I’ve been following you since you pulled out from the grocery store.”

Thirty minuteslater, after the patrolman finished an impromptu vehicle safety inspection, I pull back out into traffic, down the street, around a corner and into my office parking space. I briskly ran up several flights of stairs to the main hallway. After several steps, I arrive at my office where a clean cut, young man dressed in mechanics overalls is standing in the doorway.

“Sorry mister, the men’s bathroom overflowed into your office. We are evacuating the sludge now and then will be taking out the carpet, so you won’t be able to enter for at least a couple of hours,” said the familiar face of the young man that I think I had seen earlier that day.

I did not even bother to ask if he would do me a favor and let me in. Sitting down in the hallway, I opened my briefcase, took out my work for that day and began working on the chapter I would be teaching on Sunday.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13.

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