Thursday, November 14, 2013

For the Love of the Wal-Marks

This was written a couple of years ago as a Facebook "Note." I'm re-posting it on my blog:

Some people view going to Wal-Mart as a drudgery. I'll admit it...I've had those days. But I get over it real fast. 

My motivation: two beady brown eyes staring at me, so excited to go! 

It's not that I don't like going to the grocery. I am thankful we have the means to buy food and other items that we need for our family. I know there are starving children in other parts of the world, and there are needy even in my own community. I've read how missionary families home on furlough are OVERWHELMED at the all options we have for simple items, like our choice of breakfast cereal. I know I am very blessed. My beef is with the savvy marketing team that put the toothpaste and the milk on the total opposite sides of the store!  Because Momma's got things to DO.

When I go by myself, I can set a record. Seriously. Sometimes I don't even need a buggy. I can get nearly 18 items in one of those little blue baskets...and can carry two more items in my empty hand.  I know where everything is and I have my not get in my way. 

But my Joshua? Oh, how he loves to go to Wal-Mart. He starts by asking the night before, "we going to Wal-Mart in the morning?" And then in the morning, after he wakes up, he starts again, "what time we going to Wal-Mart?" And, let me tell you, you'd better know the time and you'd better STICK to the time. My man-child loves routine. 

It starts in the parking lot. A good parking place is important. We like for it to be near the door, of course, but it's even more important that we park close to the buggy stall. THAT is crucial because after we unload the groceries into the car, he is the one who takes the buggy back to where it belongs! 

But when we get inside the store, we have to use one of the wipie sheets on the buggy. Otherwise, my little germ freak refuses to push it!  He knows exactly where to go for the items he needs...body wash, deodorant, and the must-have mouth spray. I wait at the end of the aisle and let him pick those things out. He says "excuse me" to people and lets them go in front of him.

We head over to the grocery side. He is pushing the cart like a pro. "I'll get the get the paper plates" he tells me.  "Yes, sir!" He knows what we need...sometimes reminding me..."we need cinnamon rolls for Sunday." There are certain things he loves to pick out, like his yogurt. I just stand back and watch. His face lights up as he looks at all of the choices in front of him. He will carefully choose 4 different flavors. No more, no less. I don't know why. He does the same thing when we get to the frozen orange juice. He chooses 3 cans. No more, no less. One loaf of french bread, one tub of cheese dip, and he will say "we need nanners" as we pass through the produce section.

He has at least 4 checkers that he likes and we always try to get in their lines if we can. One lady brings him presents...and he does the same for her.  He helps me unload the groceries onto the conveyor belt...they have to be in a specific order. Once the cart is empty. he hurries to load all the bags back into it. Occasionally, an extra, empty bag will attach itself to one of our bags that is full...and Joshua smiles so big. He'll whisper, "we got an extra bag...hee, hee, hee." 

Finding joy in the simple things.

Where we came from, everyone knew Joshua. He grew up there. He was at school. He was at church. He was at every sporting event. He was a favorite at the local Sonic. :) Then, we moved...and all of a sudden, we don't know anyone and no one knows him. We are different, and we get a lot of stares...something I had kind of forgotten about, after being in one place for 15 years. But...MOST PEOPLE MEAN WELL...that's something I tell myself on a near-daily basis now...and it's true. And helps. 

But I see Joshua as a gift...and I want everyone else to see him that way as well. That's why I take him with me most of the time. It's good for us to realize our blessings; it's good for us to see that we are not all the same; it's good for us look past how someone looks on the outside and get to know the person that is inside; it's good for us to realize that we all have disabilities...we might call them struggles or difficulties or trials...but we all have them.

When I go to Wal-Mart by myself, I am in a hurry. I'm ashamed to say that sometimes I try not to make eye-contact with people I don't know. I want to get what I need and get home.  When I go to Wal-Mart with Joshua, we take our time...shorter legs move slower! He notices people. He helps people. On a visit last week, a WM employee dropped a case of canned items and they rolled across the floor. Before I knew it, Joshua was on his hands and knees, helping to pick them all up.  

He notices changes in the store. "Ooooo..."Hornet" (our school's mascot) cakes...we should get one for Clark." 

I had breezed right by the bakery and didn't even notice. 

Or, "do you know who would like those pretty flowers today? Mrs. Laryssa would, that's who!"

So today was our Wal-Mart day, but my man-child woke up sick. I was taking care of him, giving him meds and fluids...and tucking him in bed with a movie. Mid-morning, I look up and there is Joshua...pale as a sheet but fully dressed. He gave me a weak smile and said, "sooo when we going to Wal-Mart?"

"In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary." 1 Corinthians 12:22

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