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I was in the supermarket a few weeks ago, picking up the ingredients I needed for a salad recipe I was eager to try. The line was long. Luckily, I wasn’t in a rush that day.
A woman of a certain age was standing in front of me. As her groceries made their way towards the cashier, a pear separated from the pack and its stem became trapped in the conveyor belt. Working gently, I detached it, keeping the stem intact.
“Excuse me,” I said, returning the pear to its owner. She had no idea it had run amok, and seemed delighted to have it back.
“Your pear was stuck, but now it’s free,” I added.
“You’ve liberated my pear? Well, I guess the women’s movement isn’t dead after all!”
We both savored the cleverness of her reply.
I loved this exchange. It had charm and wit, reference to an important social issue, the opportunity to return a lost object, the connection between two women of different generations, and the sweetness of a particularly fulsome pear. I wanted to hug this woman and tell her she’d made my day, but I feared the groans from a long line peopled with folks already getting antsy. So I just thanked her for giving me a great story to tell as she went on her way.
Last night, while washing the laundry, my sweater sleeve got stuck in the dryer door. Gently, I worked it free without tearing the wool. As I headed back upstairs, “You’ve liberated your sweater? Well, I guess the women’s movement isn’t dead after all!” came flying out of my mouth. I couldn’t help myself.
I laughed, and it made me wonder about all the different reasons God puts people in our path – to comfort or challenge us, befriend or upend us, bless or befuddle us. But in that moment it dawned on me that sometimes, the best reason – maybe even the only reason – is to give us a good story. And on most days, that’s more than enough.
P.S. Check out my new essay on The Wisdom Daily http://thewisdomdaily.com/why-i-honor-the-souls-of-our-belongings/. Please like and share!