I’m a member of an online Christian writers community called “Faith Writers.” https://www.faithwriters.com/ and I wrote this for one of its weekly writing challenges a while ago. I just discovered it again dozing in my document file and decided to share it with you.

On the Clock

I knew I was shaving it close. It was one of those days when my to-do list left no wiggle room. Between the second I backed the car out of the garage and the dog’s grooming appointment three hours later, I had to drop off my husband’s suit at the cleaners, pick up my prescription, mail bills, and do the grocery shopping. I visualized my destinations to find the shortest route through the maze of my day and moved grocery shopping to the head of the list.

I may pull this off after all, I thought, as I marched toward the supermarket doors after snagging a parking spot near the entrance. Once inside, I reached into my purse to grab my shopping list, and felt everything but that one piece of paper. Then I remembered I’d left it on the kitchen table.

Hate it when I do dumb things like that! I ground my teeth and entertained shopping without it, but my chances of recalling everything—when I couldn’t even remember to bring the list in the first place—were nil. My sigh was more a growl as I surrendered my grand parking spot to return home for the list. Returning 15 minutes later, I vowed to sail through the store in record time.

I was reaching for a grapefruit when I heard a familiar voice call my name. I turned to see Marcia from my quilting circle at church, clutching the handle of her cart that was parked just behind me. Her hair, usually salon perfect, looked like an explosion in a wheat silo and really, there was no way her striped slacks could have gone with the floral fabric of her blouse. She must have seen the curiosity on my face because she spoke in a rush of words, even though I really had no time to chat. No time at all.

“Oh, it’s so good to see a friend!” Marcia’s hand flew to her hair. “I know I must look a fright, but it’s been a horrendous week. I got a phone call at four in the morning a week ago telling me Mom had had a stroke. Dad’s a wreck, of course, and I’ve been running between the hospital and the house, trying to take care of Dad and keep up with Mom. It hurts so much to see her laying there, her right side paralyzed. I don’t know what will happen or how Dad will manage.”

Marcia shook her head, fighting tears. My heart broke for her. I hugged her right there in the produce department.

“It’s so hard when these things happen,” I said, patting her back. “You remember what I went through with my parents last year. But somehow God got us through.” I looked into her eyes and smiled. “And He uses friends to help. I’ll give you a list of the agencies that helped me.”

After I slammed the trunk lid over my grocery bags and slid behind the wheel of the car, I moved the drugstore and post office errands to after the dog’s appointment. Spending time with Marcia had blown my schedule to pieces, but I realized something wonderful.

Had I not forgotten my grocery list, I would have missed that divine appointment with Marcia. God had that meeting planned all along, and comforting her turned out to be the best of what I was supposed to do that day.

I grinned as I turned on the ignition and whispered, “God, I love the way You work.”


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