Finding Beauty in Errands
Today was Errand Day. I had to be out of the house from 10 to 1:30 for my house cleaner, so I decided to catch up on a couple of tasks I'd been putting off. Here's how I found beauty and joy with each stop.
Errands can be tedious chores, but with every interaction there is a potential for human connection. What you might consider an inconvenience could be Beauty calling. Will you answer?
- I went first to Baker Opticians for some new lenses for my computer glasses. I had expected to see my long-time friend and former co-worker behind the desk, but another face greeted me. I wondered about the optician on duty and how much I would have to explain about my needs, but he picked up my records and spoke to me as if he'd known me for years. It was beautiful to make a new connection at a familiar place.
- Next I drove to Price Rite Pharmacy to rent some medical equipment. I'm an established customer, but I still expected to spend some time describing what I was after - an assistive device for my husband to keep weight off his foot. When I entered the store, Randy, who helped me with my wheelchair and is typically upstairs managing chair fittings and orders, was standing in the aisle. He smiled and said, "What are you up to?" I told him what I needed, and before I could finish he exclaimed, "Oh! A rollator! Let me get one for you!" A minute later, he came out rolling an apparatus with a cushion for the knee and handlebars to steer. I signed the rental paperwork and another clerk helped me out to the car. Randy's expertise had made this chore easy. There was beauty in the business/customer relationship.
- My friend had to cancel our lunch date due to illness, so at 11:30, I spontaneously called my husband at work to see if he was free. He was able to leave and meet me at the restaurant where my friend and I had planned to eat (I had my heart set on the chicken sandwich!). After the meal, he invited me back to see his new office. He's been at this company since December, but it's on the second floor and there are no elevators, so I couldn't access it. When we arrived, Shawn carried me up the steep flight of stairs to his office and then back down when I was ready to leave. In addition to this show of love, he agreed to pose for a couple of pictures at his desk and by the company's sign. Now when he's at work, I can visualize where he is. The unplanned event was full of beauty and love.
- I had a few more items on my errand list, but I was ready to go home for the day. Suddenly I remembered that I had been craving mint chocolate chip ice cream, so I crossed two lanes and drove to the grocery store. Once inside, I grabbed a basket for a few other items on my list. When I was nearly finished, I saw a woman I recognized as a former parent from my teaching days. I approached her with hesitation, "Ms. TeSelle?" Yes, it was her! And she told me that her daughter, whom I taught in second grade ten years ago, had just graduated high school last weekend. We chatted for a bit and were both grinning when we said goodbye. I found beauty in reconnecting to my past and thinking about the impact I had made.
- I made my way to the check out. However, the flowers caught my eye, and I thought of my mom. I hadn't been able to see her for Mother's Day, so when I found a bouquet of iris, her favorite flower, I knew I had to get it. And then I thought back to our phone conversation from this morning when she had mentioned my dad was feeling sick, but he was out of cold medicine. I decided to pick up that, too. After checking out, a young man I had taught in the youth group at church helped me to the car. He was genuinely happy to see me and we visited as he placed my groceries in the van. Beauty had found me on this unplanned detour.
- My last stop before home was my parents' house. They live only a few minutes from the store and ten minutes away from me, so it was easily on my way. I pulled up in their driveway and called my mom. When she didn't answer, I dialed Dad's number and told him I was outside. Surprised, Mom came out smiling. I rolled down the window and handed her the cold medicine and the purple flowers. She graciously received them, glad she didn't have to go to the store later. Simply adding two items to my basket had saved her a trip to town and brought her joy. I felt grateful that I could help in such a small way, and it was beautiful.
Some doorways from this week:
- With Shawn's foot pain, he had to stay indoors yesterday, and it felt like the sunshine and warmth were taunting us. However, we found joy and beauty in playing a new board game, one of our favorite hobbies!
- Last week we had some scattered rain showers. Though I was driving in sunshine, I could see clouds in the distance that were streaked with rain, and it was beautiful.