I walked into a Kroger supermarket yesterday a very lucky man. I was not alone as so many people are these days. No, I had with me the love of my life who has been by my side for 42 years. Seeing that written on a page is a little frightening when I realize the blazing speed with which those years, each one made up of unique days, passed by. I am a lucky man indeed. Not only was I in the company of my soul mate, there were three little delightful and adoring faces by our side as well. They are the ones you see in the picture.
As we strolled across the pavement of the familiar parking lot, my mind tried to imagine how different this store must have been when I shopped there before Connie and I even knew the other one existed. I’m confident those GoKart buggies were not around then. But, what a great idea they are for shoppers with young children! And, I am sure the produce department we had back then paled in comparison to what we enjoy these days. On the other hand, I remember so clearly being welcomed by a warm, assuring feeling brought on by the aroma of fresh bread on the pastry aisle making me glad I was there. Is it just me or was there a time when you could not get past the coffee aisle without tasting the yet to be brewed coffee beans? What has happened to practically erase those experiences? Is it the expanded size of the store? Is it all the health regulations leading to plastic wrapping so tight no odor can escape? Or is it the unfortunate result of a myriad of sanitation rules to save us from germs? Life is funny like that. Change is always with us. Some for the better and some not so much.
“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” ― J.D Salinger, “The Catcher in the Rye”
Getting back home safely with our three little helpers in tow meant being in familiar, unchanged territory. After all, if anything was going to change around here, it would be at my discretion. Or, so I thought. Sam, Penelope and Rosemary pieced together a couple of animal puzzles while Connie prepared our lunch. After our meal together we planned to let Sam nap while his sisters watched a movie. As we sat at the kitchen table, the sound of a vehicle nearby caught my attention. Thinking it must be the mail truck, I decided to take a look because, even though I didn’t give it much thought, something about this sound seemed a little different. Uh oh. It was different alright. A man dressed in jeans and a well-worn sweat shirt was methodically unloading dirt moving equipment in the vacant lot next to our house. This vacant lot, mind you, is where all ten of our grandchildren love to roam and play with minimal need for supervision. As we watched, he dug a hole somewhere near the middle of the lot. Then he slowly moved the powerful machine over and dug another hole. Leaning in to see where he would go next, we saw him repeat the step yet another time. How could he be so oblivious to the anxiety he was causing to people next door? I said, “Penelope, get your shoes on and let’s go find out what this is all about”. Surely there was some explanation other than the obvious. As we approached, the operator halted his work allowing the noise to subside so we could carry on a conversation. You guessed it. Someone is about to build a new house on that vacant lot. Changes in the landscape arrived today right beside our house.
Change is uncomfortable for everyone. Ron Edmundson
After adjusting to the initial effect of the inevitable change taking place next door, I realized that having a new neighbor will be a really good change indeed. And, even though we have no idea who these future neighbors are, I prayed for them this morning asking God to begin now to bless our relationship with them and show us how we can serve them in the ever-changing future.