Monday 23 April 2007

Supermarket shopping: An experience of Grace!

Before you say it! I know! - Not the most flattering outfit ;-) This was me at one of our local supermarkets last week, taking part in our parish school fundraising efforts for a much needed extension. I approached the task with a certain trepedation. I find grocery shopping a stressful experience at the best of times and I know how impatient I can be on occassion when well meaning charity bag-packers mix the petfood with fresh meat! Now it was my turn and I hoped that I would experience a little mercy, perhaps more than I have shown on occassion! I do not consider myself a bad packer but when the conveyer belt is turning for three hours solid it all becomes a bit of a blur!

Well in three hours I have to say not one bad experience....a couple of fairly neuteral ones but not one obnoxious customer or member of staff. A lot of very stressed people mind you - It's amazing how much you can read in the face of a person as they watch the subtotal climbing on the till and the items piling into the trolley - the same items that will have to be unpacked at the far end!

But what I could not get over was how people wanted to talk to me - how friendly they were - how much they seemed to want to make contact with a stranger. We are constantly told how insular and private our world is becoming - how distracted and removed we are becoming from each other. Well that was not my experience! The human need for contact and relationship is not something that can easily be quenched. Despite rumours to the contrary it is alive and well. It was a revelation to me and a powerful reminder that sometimes we need to get out a bit and experience the everyday mundanity to realize just how much potential for good and Grace there is in this world.
After 3 hours my feet were sore, my stomach was rumbling but my heart felt good. It's not a bad old world after all.


Paul. said...

first ever look at the blog Stephen, was just wandering through it when i came across the name of Tony Campolo, remember seeing him at a conference in the royal hospital in 1994 and being greatly inspired by what he had to say.

Forgot all about him these last few years, so it was nice to get a link back in... i'm afraid i'm with Richard Dawkins on the whole religion thing, but if ye must have ambassadors for Christianity then Mr. Campolo is not a bad envoy.

will catch up on the rest of the blog....



Stephen Neill said...

Thanks for that Paul - Yes I am a big fan of Tony Campolo - he represents that rare blend of strong conviction in faith with human love and compassion - sadly not always evident in certain expressions of 'Christianity'. Re Dawkins - I have read him and find him very hard work and he seems to have a monumental chip on his shoulder....from your comments on GUBU I know you are not into chips! :-) Is there anyone contemporary more convincing and less angry that one could read in the whole atheist realm? I would be interested. Now to have a look at your blog...