Breaking Bread in the Grocery Aisle

Sometimes, life feels like walking anonymous.   

Sitting in theater darkness, delighting in Cait with a C (of Not the “Royal Kate,” She’s “Cait with a C” – Part One),  ballroom-dancing in Jane Eyre the Musical one night.  Then… as if no time has passed…dreaming to classical scores of beauty and her sister, Maggie (of Small Beginnings),  in medal-winning orchestra the next morning.

Just now I’m returning from a wonderful Sunday service, where speaker Marilyn Hickey – there in person – leaves me cosseted in joy from His presence in it all.

Moment slips into moment and I’m here one minute, there the next, and days are just going, going

Drive here and there, stop at a store, sift through my mental lists.  Pick up bell peppers.  Do they have fresh tarragon today?  Reach for my weekly sourdough round spiced with olive oil and rosemary… mmm, still snug-warm-from-the-oven… move on down to the bakery counter for slicing.

She catches my eye, quickly cleans her hands, slips on plastic gloves to take the bread from mine.

“I was going to try and save you one,” she offers softly, shyly, “because we didn’t get that many baked today and I was worried they’d all be gone….”

I smile back, suddenly warmed because this woman I don’t even know expects me.  She’s noticed my favorite home-style baked loaf, and more than that… she was thinking of me in her morning work, wanting to make sure I would have what I hoped for there.

“I wasn’t even sure I’d come today,” I answer, really thinking, but not saying – how could she expect me when I don’t always come on the same day?

She nods.  Says, “The snow is hitting hard today, so I wondered if you’d want to come out too… guess all this great weather had to break sometime,”  then expounds on how their oven had broken down the day before and they’d had to throw out so many loaves of proofing dough because they’d sat there all day.  “It was fixed just this morning, but we didn’t have much left in the freezer to bake…”

She pulls the slices from the machine and rewraps the package for me.  I see a sort of comradely look in her eyes that shines Him to me, whether or not she knows.  It’s amazing in our world these days to find strangers who are actually looking for you to show up.

And, I wonder how many people notice her.  Extremely soft-spoken, busily doing her job, sort of nondescript looking…  But of all those who have sliced these fresh loaves for me, she is the one who sees people, not numbers.  She is the one who doesn’t seem perturbed at the request or interruption.

“Thank you!” I say warmly, as I take the bag from her.  But really, I’m thinking what I don’t say.  May His blessings enfold you this day, carry you safely home, open new doors of joy to you…

“Be careful if you do drive anywhere far today,” she exhorts genuinely, as we smile goodbye and separately walk away into the next moment…

“You, too!”

And I feel His Heart “wink” upon us both… breaching anonymity… right there between the baked goods and the butter and eggs.

©  Pam Depoyan

sharing with:

  Beauty in His Grip Button     Tell Me a Story

photos:  http://www.fotosearch.com

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About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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27 Responses to Breaking Bread in the Grocery Aisle

  1. Diane says:

    What a precious post, Pam. I could almost smell the bread.

    Marilyn Hickey! Wow…I’ve always wanted to hear her in person. I’m assuming you saw her at Resurrection Life Church. My son, Andrew, told me she was there.

    By the way, it started snowing here too. We get your exact weather just 2-3 days after you.

    Enjoy your bread!

    • Yep, res life. Went in the morning. I really wanted to go back for the evening service but it was starting to get iffy and it’s a long drive. Today is worse. Praying for clearer roads tomorrow. Glad you enjoyed this! I love that bread… makes great sandwiches, and it isn’t a huge loaf so it is perfect for me. Wish you really could smell it. 🙂 M. was great. Amazing for being 81 – she is so vital still. And words that ignited more of THE Word. I just “happened” to see last week that she was going to be here and it was a gift to be there.

  2. Sylvia R says:

    What a blessing from a stranger! This post warmed my heart, like bread hot from the ovens. May I be that kind of stranger—one who sees people, not numbers.

  3. Alicia says:

    So glad I jumped over from Ann’s link up to find you here. I felt like I was right there with you- love the way you spied grace in the ordinary. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous post.

    • I’m glad you came over, Alicia! Thanks for your lovely words. This seemed like such a “little” moment, but it did jump out at me as God’s grace in an everyday situation. I’m trying to look for those more and more. 🙂 Wasn’t sure if this really “fit” with Ann…but then thought it does rejoice in His “gifts.” You blessed me by saying that.

  4. This is such an awesome story. A whole new way of looking at sisterhood — this recognizing, this paying attention, this expecting. Can I include this in the Sisterhood issue that I hope to put together?

  5. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Oh Pam this is just so lovely, and I can picture it all because you tell it so well. She was showing you the kindness of Christ…..and I couldn’t help but think of the heavenly manna of God’s provision. I’m so very glad that you shared. And on an amusing note, my mother and I always say that if we could only eat one thing, it would be bread and butter! =] Perhaps you have tasted Panera bread? It’s from my hometown, St. Louis, but here, we call it the St. Louis Bread Company. That is the real name, and many don’t know that. Apparently, no one in other cities would buy it with that title, so they had to change it. Go figure! How often do we as Christians reject God’s manna? Your story points out that His provision comes from unexpected sources. And I suspect that you provided manna to her via your appreciation and warmth. Thank you for feeding us here!
    Love
    Lynn

    • Yes, Lynn… the first time I ever ate at a “Panera” was in Branson, at the St. Louis Bread Co. Later they changed the name there too. Funny you should say that about the name because I have told that to others too. I love their bread. And sandwiches. And you and your mom sound exactly like my mom and I always were. I remember once when my mom and her best friend walked to a local bakery, bought a loaf of the best rye bread ever, came home and consumed it all in one sitting! MMMM… yes, bread and butter are my downfall. I could eat bread over dessert sometimes, but the unfortunate thing is that it is like sugar to our systems too. My mom used to bake bread sometimes and we’d eat it all at once. And special rolls – a recipe from my grandmother. What’s better than a bowl of soup and a hunk of warm bread? 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed this simple story too!

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        Funny that you knew about BreadCo (as we all call it). Oh, I’m so glad this evoked memories of your precious mother and granmother. I know they were gifts!

  6. Yes… My mom loved Panera too. That first taste there was located right outside the Andy Williams theatre (I think he owned it)… By the way, I was just reading a magazine that spoke of a place in Forest Park that is like a touch of Britain. Maybe – The Tudor house? Are you familiar with it? Made me think of how we both love all things British… 🙂

  7. laura says:

    ” It’s amazing in our world these days to find strangers who are actually looking for you to show up.”

    This post just warms my heart, Pam. What a sweet, special gift. Lovely.

  8. Pamela says:

    My heart is smiling with the beauty of your writing, and the beauty of a woman who brightens the corner God has her in. I’m thinking the kindness you received was given because your life has touched hers, too.

  9. The very fact that you arrived at the store that day and not the day before shows how good God was to supply you with the perfect loaf of bread. Yesterdays bread had to be cast away as it was spoiled with no oven to bake it in. May we ever be the ready oven to bake someones bread of life that they need for today! Thank you for sharing at Tell me a Story.

  10. Mary says:

    This is a wonderful post! It is so easy to overlook and not see, but such beauty and wonder when we do! Thank you for sharing this!

  11. Floyd says:

    You do have a way with words… I’m always fascinated by the people that we encounter everyday when I see them as the people God designed to be there at that specific time. There are no coincidences. Warm bread is good. Mixed with warm hearts it becomes magical. What an awesome gift from God… They usually do show up in the most simple and wholesome of ways don’t they? Awesome post.

    • Thank you, Floyd. I feel the same way… there are never coincidences. It is amazing to think sometimes, especially when one or two minutes might make a total difference… but how God is leading is wondrous. Thank you for stopping by here too, and for your encouraging words!

  12. Lori @ Frog's Lilypad says:

    Pam, I went to the grocery store with my mom the other day. Watching her with some of the ladies who work there was amazing. They saw each other as people not an employee/customer but ladies enjoying a quick hello and I hope you have a wonderful day. May we always see others as a soul created by God. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  13. Jann Olson says:

    Beautiful story Pam! I love it when my path crosses with people who genuinely are happy to see me and our hearts connect! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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