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Finding joy in the middle of chaos

The other day I was in line at the grocery store. This is the same store I’ve been going to for 18 years. There was a customer ahead of me, having a conversation with the cashier. The woman at the register was young, tall, and absolutely glowing! In fact, there was so much light emanating from her face it was almost like stumbling into an episode of Touched by an Angel.

I heard the young woman telling the customer how incredibly happy she was. One look at her face told me she was speaking the truth. With our country struggling, and people doing whatever they can to make it through these tough times, I was curious to know the secret behind this person’s joy.

When I got to the head of the line, I told the cashier I had heard her talking about how happy she was, and asked if there was something special that had brought this about.

There are no words to adequately express the radiant look she gave me, as she leaned across the produce and the laundry detergent. “I’ve had the most wonderful week,” she whispered. ” I think…I’ve met my soulmate.”

“Well, then,” I replied, “I suspect it’s going to be another wonderful week for you.”

“It’s going to be a wonderful life,” she answered simply.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this person. She was the perfect expression of true happiness. She was living in the moment, completely vulnerable and trusting. I don’t think she cared about the stock market crisis or her retirement account. In her world there was love…and peace…and a safe place to rest. In her world, all was well.

I have seen that same wondrous, excited, “the-world-is-such-a-wonderful-place” look on all the doggies who have shared my life. But it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this much joy on another human being’s face. It occurred to me that this stranger showed me something I needed very much to see that day…hope.

I am thinking that on a cold day in Portland, in a checkout line at the grocery store, with the newspaper headlines talking endlessly about fear and desperation, perhaps I had met an angel.


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