I had to laugh today when someone mentioned that the local grocery store had new shopping carts. I found myself smiling, thinking I need to go and experience using a clean, smooth-driving shopping cart. Using these shopping carts can be a hazardous to your health: they are sticky, smelly, and otherwise unhygienic. I feel as if I have to disinfect myself when using them and use my “mom voice” with my daughter when she tries to touch it, “Don’t touch that, you have no idea what is on it.”
This may not seem important, and it really isn’t, but we in Blantyre have become accustomed to filthy shopping carts that turn left when you want to turn right and turn right when you want to turn left. There have been times when the cart I’m using simply stops moving in the middle of a shop and I, the unfortunate shopper, am stuck with a cart that I end up having to pull, instead of push, to the checkout.
From checkout, I then proceed with great difficulty with the sticky cart-that-needs-a-front-end-alignment turning this way and that, to the car. Finally, after loading groceries, the temptation is great to shout at the cart and leave it, just like everyone else does, in the parking area – but that is not meant to be. No, I have heard teachings on the importance of returning the cart and I can’t bear the guilt of leaving the cart. So, I once again fight with my nemesis and return it, often to the quizzical looks of others who also despise the carts at the store, to its proper place.
By the time I return to the car, that I have on occasion unintentionally scratched with the misaligned cart, I’ve broken into a full sweat and count shopping for that day as my cardio workout. The problem is that more often than not, I have to frequent several places to filling my grocery list for the week and this process repeats itself two or three times before I get home. Then, I have to unpack everything and take myself, and daughter, through a decontamination process after our encounter with the sticky cart.
It’s obvious I’m no fan of grocery shopping and perhaps you can understand why now that you know of my problem with grocery carts. The truth of the matter is, despite my utter disdain for the carts here, that shopping carts aren’t a big deal in life; they’re really little details. However, those little details can create a very big deal if left unattended. Just knowing that the store’s carts were as bad as they were, made me avoid shopping there – but now upon hearing that there are new carts I may (emphasis on may) not avoid that shop next week.
A rock in the shoe, a shopping cart that turns badly, or no power to print your document, all are inconvenient, but none are deadly. These little things are conveniences that are meaningful, but do we allow them to mean more than they should? I am guilty, on more than one occasion, allowing what’s really a small thing to have a greater impact on my life than it should and I find myself in a “kerfuffle” (I like that word) for nothing.
My mother was pretty amazing and I didn’t realize how amazing she was until I was grown. She graduated into God’s glory in 2008 and I miss her dearly; one of the things I miss most is her way of making what seems complicated, to be simple. One saying of hers that has stuck with me has helped me deal with the unimportant things of life: “If you’re going to be upset, be upset about something that really matters – and there are a lot of things that don’t matter.”
Today I choose peace, I choose to shake the rock from my shoe, avoid the bad shopping cart, and find a way to teach without my printout. The emotional energy invested in being upset has no payout besides elevated blood pressure and heartburn, so why bother?
John 14:27 NLT “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”