Goodness that Flows Below the Surface

Weekly Reflection, Friday, June 24

By: Harrison Higgins

Did you know that the “River of Life” runs through a checkout line at the Kroger grocery store in Carytown? Yes, the river that springs up from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 22) reaches all the way to the left checkout line at Kroger in Carytown and I got to taste it.

I had been cutting the grass. It was hot and I was in a foul mood when I went in to pick up a few things. The reasons for my mood are complicated and a long story so trust me when I say I was a hot, stinking mess inside and out: upset, angry at the world, life, myself, slow checkout lines, etc.

So there I was faced with long lines in all but the one on the left where two women with full baskets were being checked out. I got in line behind them. After what seemed to be an hour, the first basket was emptied and bagged. It was time to move forward. I was seeing daylight. But then a large pile of coupons was produced each needing to be scanned and some needing the manger’s approval. Both women turned to me (they were friends) and apologized. “It’s fine,” I said, lying.

I watched and waited as each coupon was studied and scanned. I tried to calm myself with yoga breathing and “namaste-ing” but ended up glaring at lurid headlines on the National Inquirer. Eventually, the first cart was done and the woman in front of me was finally being checked out fairly quickly. Then another stack of coupons was produced, and she turned again to apologize for how long this was taking. I watched in amazement as her balance came down dramatically.

“Where do you find all these coupons?” I asked. “Friends, online, anywhere I can,” she answered. “It takes a lot of time. We come up here from South Boston because this Kroger takes all our coupons. My husband is on disability, and it helps.”

“What is his disability?” I ask after a pause. “Liver,” she says simply. This hits hard as I have watched a friend die from liver disease.

This woman’s total is now a fraction of what it was, and she gets out her wallet to pay. Without thinking, I tell the cashier that I’ll pay her bill. She turns to me and says she can’t let me do that. “Please let me,” I say in a choked voice. She does. And she gives me who is still a stinking, hot mess a hug and leaves.

A few minutes later, I leave too but as a different person. Something had happened. It was more than giving a few dollars to someone who could use it. The world cracked open – my world at least – and I got a glimpse of great goodness or oneness that flows below the surface of our everyday lives. I got a taste of it that day and it still makes me lightheaded.