In many ways it felt like an ordinary Saturday’s run to the grocery store, but it was anything but ordinary. It’s not every Saturday I go to the funeral of a sweet mentor and friend, yet that is where I had been prior to this grocery run. It isn’t ordinary for me to wear a black skirt and high heels to grab food for the week either. As I tackled the task in my heels I weaved my way through tons of shoppers and filled my cart with fresh produce.
I was almost finished with collecting the items on my list when I was startled and shocked. Directly in front of me was a father shopping with his daughter by his side. Not that unusual, right? The young gal was about my height, an adolescent with brown hair wearing a bright fuchsia colored ski coat and jeans. I did notice her bright jacket, but what drew my attention was her volume and behavior.
Right there in the aisle, I witnessed her screaming at her dad and kicking him extremely hard in the shins. He kept moving forward. She then came from behind and kicked him in the butt. Boom! A direct hit. She yelled, “I want these and these!” as she pulled chips from the shelves. Next she swung her head to the side and banged it with force against her father’s shoulder. She continued to holler at him as they both rounded the corner to go down another aisle to the dairy section. I saw him grimace, but he never said a word to her or chastise her in any way.
I was frozen for a moment, disturbed at what I had just seen. Not sure what to do I simply began to pray. I made my way to another section of the store and noticed people were also aware of the disruption. One gentleman grabbed a jar of pickles and said, “Someone is having a melt-down!” A woman pushed her cart just in front of me and nodded to him in agreement. “Yup, someone is NOT happy.” I could still hear the young gal making a ruckus a few aisles over.
People stood in the lanes and some gathered at the end caps to figure out what was going on. As I headed toward the check out lanes I saw the father trying to get his daughter into a lane. As I waited to check out, I did my best to catch the eyes of the dad. I wanted him to see my eyes of love rather than judgment. I chose the shortest lane just two lanes away from the commotion and couldn’t help notice all the folks staring as the girl’s volume increased.
I watched as the father put his left and right hand around the girl and onto the cart’s handle corralling her in place. He kept her contained and safe. She burst out and pounded her hands against the cart handle repeatedly and then threw her head back against her Dad’s sternum, screaming about something. I was trying not to stare and continued to pray. No matter how perplexed or frustrated the people around him grew, he seemed patient and calm, even unaffected by her behavior. He was such an example of patience and self-control. I pushed my cart out into the parking lot. Compared to the chaos in the grocery store it was quiet enough to hear the click of my heels on the pavement.
The next few days I got to thinking about the whole encounter. I thought about it from the Father’s perspective. What is true in the natural is true in the spiritual realm. As much as I’d hate to admit it, I know I can behave this way especially in times when I want my way or think I know better than He. Do I kick and scream and fight against the heavenly Father who lovingly continues to walk alongside me? He doesn’t act like He doesn’t know me or is ashamed to be with me. He keeps me in his protective grip as I buck against him. My Father knows best and I need to trust His pathways as He leads me through (the aisles of) life.
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14