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Archive for March, 2011

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11

Squeak…squeak… squeak

The sound broke my concentration as I was looking for my favorite flavor of ice cream in the supermarket freezer.

 Squeak…squeak….squeak…

What was that noise? I realized it was coming from the aisle next to me. Sounded like one of the stuffed toys the dog liked to play with, the one with the little squeaker in it that drove the dog crazy until she masterfully removed the annoying sound maker with her teeth.

Squeak…squeak….squeak…

Familiar with the layout of the supermarket, I knew that the next aisle wasn’t the one with the pet toys. Not curious enough, I dismissed the sound, put the ice cream in the cart, and continued with my shopping.

Squeaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueak!!!!!!

There was no ignoring the noise now; it was directly behind me,  loud and persistent. Curiosity won, so I turned around.

I smiled at the unexpected sight: two joyful toddlers, “driving” a red vehicle-shaped shopping cart; each kid had their own steering wheel and their very own horn.  As they exuberantly pressed on the yellow horns, a squeak emerged. The grins on the kids’ faces were wide, their bodies wriggled in the seats with excitement.

A harried Mom was pushing the cart. The cart was full of groceries, which told me the Mom had been listening to that noise for her entire trip at the supermarket. I felt her pain.

The toddlers continued to happily press the horns, having discovered that the faster they pushed the horns the louder the sound, especially when they pushed the horns at the same time. They were greatly pleased when I moved my cart over so their cart could pass.

The Mom smiled back at me as she quickly passed by and headed to the checkout line. The squeaks continued while the groceries were placed on the belt, bagged, loaded back into the cart and then slowly faded as the Mom pushed the full cart out of the store to her car.

I saw God in the Mom on that trip to the supermarket. Her patience was remarkable. Yet, she knew the noise the kids were making was overshadowed by the sheer joy of the children having harmless fun with such a simple thing, a horn.  And the Mom was able to get her shopping done.

Like the children, may we find joy in the simple things. And then remember to thank God for those who have patience with us when we do!

© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio 2011

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This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

It was Christmastime in New York City. The kids and I were playing tourist during Christmas break.

 

We had taken the express train into New York. Every car on the train was packed with Long Island tourists like ourselves this Christmas week. The day was unseasonably warm, which probably added to the number of people heading into the city. We settled into a seat, open the fold-out map, and planned our day.

 

When we reached Penn Station, we walked upstairs and outside into the crowds on the sidewalk. It was noisy: vendors called attention to their wares spread out on tables along the sidewalk: watches, scarves, and pocket books. Taxi horns, calls of the tour guides, loud chatter of people as they moved along, bicycle bells, roar of the busses and cars as they moved down the road bombarded us. Smells of the pretzels and roasted nuts from the sidewalk vendors floated in the air.

 

Our plan was to walk up Fifth Avenue to RockefellerCenter, to see the tree. It seemed like this was everyone else’s destination, too. We joined the herd of people heading up Fifth Avenue. “Packed like sardines” doesn’t even begin to describe the crowds as we moved along.

 

After a few blocks, the crowd slowed down to a crawl. Something was blocking the sidewalk ahead. The kids and I couldn’t see what was causing the slowdown; packed in, we could only move along with the crowd. The crowd started to get cranky: kids whined, people grumbled and started jostling each other on the walkway. Because of the Christmas crowds and the traffic on the street next to us, the only place to go was to continue on the sidewalk, inching along.

 

As we moved up the street, we could see that the people up ahead seemed to move around something on the sidewalk, then continue on a bit faster.  What could be causing this pedestrian traffic jam?

 

We got closer, and saw the reason for the jam up: an elderly couple was moving very slowly along on the sidewalk. Maybe they were married, maybe they were siblings or just friends. If I had to guess their ages, I’d say they were in their mid-to-late 90s. In spite of the warm weather, each was dressed in a heavy overcoat. They were both petite, frail looking, but with an amazing inner strength. The gentleman was bent over a walker, shuffling along. The lady was next to him, holding his arm for support, as she slowly shuffled along with him. Their package from the grocery store was hooked around the walker. Both were intently fixed on the sidewalk, determined, careful of where they were stepping, focusing on moving ahead.

 

In their own way, each one was supporting the other as they walked. Well, shuffled.

 

As they passed the couple on the sidewalk, the change in the crowd was remarkable. The people passing stopped talking, gave the couple a gentle smile, and walked around them, giving them plenty of room on the sidewalk. As the crowd reformed in front of the couple, the mood had changed: people had more patience, and they were friendlier to those around them. People who just a few moments before were very grouchy, were now smiling, greeting strangers with a “Hello” and a “Merry Christmas” while waiting for the light to change at the next cross walk.

 

I saw God that day in the elderly couple on Fifth Avenue. In their simple daily activity, The Lord used that couple to show that we are to love and care for each other, support one another, as we move along in life. Always.

© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio, Seeing God In The Ordinary 2011

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