No Purpose For Old Folks

  Louise Hawkins slowly drove her car into the handicapped parking spot. The familiar crunch sound on the front license plate reminded her, once again, of the cement barrier.

  A young-sounding female voice came bouncing out of the car’s radio speakers, “God has wonderful opportunities for you to serve him today. All you need to do is ask and watch.”

  “Ha!” Louise responded, pulling the keys out of the ignition, “That’s not always the case for us over-the-hill gang. My big opportunity for today might just be getting out of this car without falling on my fanny!”

  With careful choreography, sliding her legs to the side of the seat, Louise put one hand on the steering wheel  and a solid grip on the cane with the other. Moving gingerly, she successfully stood outside of the car. 

  It had been a usual morning of fatigue and stiff joints. “Lord, I know you’re with me, but if could you please tell that  Mr. Art Ritis to not be my constant companion I would surely appreciate it.”

  As was her custom, thoughts blended with prayer. “I'm sorry God.  I do need to apologize for my sassy attitude! But what possible purpose could you have for me? My body is not exactly in missionary shape. Remind me again how saint Paul could be content sitting in a stinky jail. Maybe then I will remember it's a blessing to buy my own groceries!”

  Retrieving a smaller size grocery cart, Louise placed her tri-pod cane inside it. The automatic door swung open into the produce section. ”$1.99 for watermelon?” She said out loud. “That’s a good price!” 

  The produce employee had been balancing melons on a display. “Yep it sure is.  We often have good deals here. Would you like one? I can put it in your cart”

  “Yes, thank you. That’s a heavy job for you isn’t it?“  Mrs. Hawkins’s habit of encouragement had continued from her teaching days.

  “Oh this isn’t heavy. And I really enjoy this job. It sure helps pay the bills when you’ve got teens in the house.”  Louise noticed  the name “Caryn” as the employee talked.

  “Oh, teenagers, what a difficult time that is, with all the pressures against them now-a-days.  I pray for them…  Do your kids have good friends?  That’s what I asked God for even when my three were little!  Good Christian friends, to influence them, and a good church to support your family too.”

  “My daughter has good friends so far, but yes, it is a high stress world for them.  We don’t really have a church, but…”

  “Well,  you might want to think about connecting with one.  One that teaches the whole Bible, like mine does. God has a plan.”

  “Yes he does." Caryn agreed as she got out price stickers and continued to work.

   Louise said a silent prayer for Caryn and her family, as she picked out the best banana bunch. 

  Maneuvering the cart past the deli section, Louise had to wind around several bakery displays sticking out into the aisle.  She was thinking, "They do that just to tempt people!" as she made  her way to the pharmacy. Louise always enjoyed talking to the pharmacist, whom she had trusted for advice over many years.  “Well hello Mrs. Hawkins how are you?” Gregg smiled.

 “Well if I was a 100% I guess I wouldn’t need this prescription would I?  But by God’s grace I am still kicking .  My beautiful, perfect granddaughter just moved to town! What a blessing!  How about you? Get to see your grandchildren much?”

 “I do and it is a joy.  Don’t know how school is gonna go this year with the masks, or if they go online again. They need social time.  How can my daughter get her first grader to sit still and work on a computer, even half a day?” Gregg was smiling but shaking his head.

 “Oh my gosh that is a lot! I feel so badly for the teachers too.  There are several families I know who did homeschooling last year.  This year they are sending their grade-schoolers to Christian schools. The kids get lots of attention with small classrooms, not to mention teachers who pray for them. “  Just then  Louise wished she had a flyer in her purse with the area churches and church schools listed.  Might come in handy for times like this.

 “Hey that’s an idea. I’ll tell my wife “grandpa” needs to retire so he can homeschool our eleven grandchildren. Ha ha.  I don’t think that will fly. I always enjoy talking with you Mrs. Hawkins. Any questions on your medications?”

 “No, they are working well for me. And I am grateful. Well, I’ll see you in a month. God bless you and that big family!”

  Mrs. Hawkins began to push her cart down the main aisle one more time, trying to remember what else was on her shopping list, that she had forgotten at home. “Let’s see, coffee? No. Eggs?  I think Randy will bring some fresh to Bible study tonight…Hello Trystan!” Mrs. Hawkins went from quietly talking to herself to loudly greeting  the cashier.  Trystan had been one of her many Sunday School students. “ Did I hear a rumor that you got married? 

 Trystan smiled broadly and a bit of color reddened her face. “Yes I did, a month ago.”

 “He better be a polite young man and very good to you!   And is he a Christian?”

“Yes he is, Mrs. Hawkins. In fact Jax is taking membership classes," she answered as Louise’s purchases were rung up, bagged, and paid for.

 “That is so good to hear!  God will help you both grow closer to Him and to each other.” The news had produced a big, hope-filled smile. “ I will pray for you both.”

  Eddie, the bagger, as he often did, slowly pushed the cart out of the store with Louise holding on to it. Placing the two grocery bags in the car, his head nodded.  “No, Mrs. Hawkins, I’m not supposed to take tips. This is my job to help you.”

 “Just take it as a favor to me.“ Louise said, squeezing $3 into his hands.  Opening the driver's door, Eddie made sure she was safe as she climbed in.  “Besides, what other purpose do I have today than to help pay for your lunch?” 

   As Mrs. Hawkins headed for home, she heard herself humming a favorite hymn.


                       (Based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the guilty. ;)


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  1. We all need a good dose of Louise every day….God bless these saints!!

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. How did you find this blog? If you care to, I would appreciate you sharing it.

  2. I loved this! I've noticed that for a lot of older people, grocery shopping is a social occasion. Many of us, sadly, try to get it done as quickly as possible with as little human contact as possible--and we miss a lot of ways to minister.

    1. Thanks Barbara for reading and commenting. Writers are encouraged to keep creating when they receive positives like this and shares. Appreciate it!

  3. Great blog post Sue!! Loved it and your writing style!!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and commetn.

  4. Loved this piece, Sue! Could picture every scenario. Thanks!

    1. I appreciate your comments. If you know of anyone else who might enjoy it, please share with them.

  5. I love Mrs. Hawkins and her journey to the grocery store. Sometimes we miss the purpose God has assigned us for the day. Sometimes we think it is insignificant, but God uses even our social interactions to bless others.

    1. You nailed it! Please feel free to share if you think it might encourage others.

  6. I liked the blog! Sue you have a talent for writing and reaching our hearts. The story reminded me of how simple it can be to share God's love through words of encouragement. God puts the people before us we just have to speak His love. Thanks, Sue!

    1. You are an example of grace and encouragement to all who meet you. Thanks for your caring and sharing.

  7. Thank you for your transparency and humor too. Deliberately speaking into the lives of others with hope and caring.... what a great example and reminder. Thank you!


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