In college, my friend Josh and his family would pack up and leave for Zambia every July. It was always a rat race seeing them off and making sure they didn't forget anything. One year, I helped Josh cross off some things on his frantic to-do list, and we were storming across the ACU campus to our next location when we saw the baby bird. It was itty bitty and had fallen out of its nest.
I grew up on a farm and felt bad, but knew it wouldn't survive once it was out. It was just the way of nature, and I intended on moving on. Josh, however, got pretty sad about the poor little bird laying helpless in the grass. I about laughed him all the way to Zambia for getting weepy over a bird. But ever since then, anytime we feel that weepy feeling, we say we "went baby bird" for a little while.
Well, today at the grocery store, I went baby bird.
Grocery stores are like psychological experiments. You might as well cage rats and see how they react under pressure. I think truer colors come out. Think about it: screaming kids, people everywhere, people scrambling for the last________, impatience in line... etc. etc....
I wish I could say that this experiment doesn't apply to me, but I'm afraid it does. A few weeks ago I was shopping, and I found myself on the floor of Wal-Mart, on my knees digging on the bottom shelf for a box of wheat thins. (Really?) A lady on the other side of a cart was doing the same. Well, guess who found the wheat thins? ME. They were sitting behind a tomato flavored box (yuck!). I'd like to say that my first reaction was to give the box to the other lady looking also. But, do you know that I grabbed that box as quickly as I could and tossed it in my own cart? Thankfully there was another box, and so only after MY needs were taken care of did I hand the box over to the lady beside me.
Today, I only meant to be in and out for a few items and ended up searching for a spice on the baking isle. An man in his 50s rolled up in his wheel chair, didn't say a word, and searched for what he needed. He was so aware of those around him and made certain to stay out of everyone's way, even though no one seemed to notice him.
As I rushed out to my car, I saw his old beat up one parked in front. He had two paper sacks full of groceries sitting on his lap as he unlocked his door, balanced the grocery bags and held his wheel chair steady.
And that's when I went baby bird. Where's the fairness in an older man who can't walk, watching out for everyone else and shopping alone? How hard must his life be? I was suddenly concerned for him and wondered if he was lonely.
Sometimes I think we think it's enough just to send money to help people, and act a different way at the grocery store. How silly of me to be desperate for the last box of wheat thins when this man can't even walk?
I'm thankful to have a savior who overcomes the grocery store and all its rat cage behavior.