Grace in the Grocery Store


“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Sometimes, God’s grace is revealed in small ways.    Last week, for example,   I experienced the power of his presence in the grocery store.

On that Friday afternoon,  as I steered my cart through the food aisles,  I found myself reviewing a list that my two daughters had given me.  That weekend, they were both coming home from college.     “Were bringing friends….Could you pick up some treats?” they had asked.

As I filled my basket with bags of chips, cheetos and soda pop, I strolled down the hair product aisle.  “Remember to pick up some shampoo…”   my girls had reminded.

As I browsed for their favorite brand, something “herbal”,    I noticed an older women, standing right next to me.  I guessed she was around 85 years old.    Wearing a floral-print shirt, her back was hunched and her face bore the deep wrinkles of age.  With a scarf tied around her graying hair, she was holding an envelope filed with coupons.

“There’s none left…” she said as she pointed to a sign taped to the edge of an empty shelf.  The sign read:  “We are temporarily out of White Rain shampoo…please see the clerks at the check out lanes.”

I sensed that this was a great disappointment for her.   “That’s a bummer” I said.

She laughed, lightheartedly, her wrinkles now looking like a hundred smiles.      “It’s my favorite….Have you ever heard of white rain shampoo?  It’s been around forever.”

“I have…my grandmother swore by it.”  I said.

Though my grandmother, “Mema” had passed away years earlier, I found myself remembering the way her brown eyes used to twinkle beneath thick bifocals,   the lines and furrows that framed her perpetual grin, and the glow that always seemed to radiate from her face.

“It’s the best shampoo I’ve ever bought…It makes your hair shine.” the elderly woman said.

Suddenly I was a child again, helping Mema bake bread in her sunlit kitchen, her gray hair glistening in the morning light.

There, in the middle of the grocery store, I began recalling my grandmother’s backyard and the times I had helped her trim rosebushes.  I could almost smell the fragrance of pink petals falling from her garden shears unto the grass.    But it was the memory of her linen closet that I saw most clearly, the shelves she used to line with neatly folded towels, glass jars of perfume and bottles of White Rain shampoo.

“Do you want a coupon for White Rain?  I’ve got an extra one…..”  the woman proudly offered.

I wasn’t sure why, but my eyes started misting.

“Why yes, that would be wonderful…”  I said.

As she went happily on her way, I lingered in the shampoo aisle,   just looking at my coupon for White Rain.    Without even knowing it, the elderly woman had blessed my day with an unexpected gift of grace.    I wondered if God had orchestrated our meeting, perhaps to remind me that sometimes the most memorable things in life are little.

Little moments. Little smiles and conversations.  Little loaves of baked bread.  Little fragrances of roses.  Little twinkles shimmering from brown eyes.  Little lines and furrows on aging faces.  And little coupons for White Rain Shampoo.

All Rights reserved,  Copyright 2009, Nancy Jo Sullivan


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  1. Thank You 🙂 You just reminded me of my Grandma. She would use pert shampoo on my sister and I,and fill a cooking pot with rinse water and dump it over our heads.Then she would use pieces of paper bags and “Dipity Doo” and tie our hair up,when it dried and we had a head full of ringlets she’d call us her little Shiley Temples.God Bless you for that memory.

  2. Nancy, thank you for a walk down memory lane. My Gran is still living, and I go visit her almost every week, but it never hurts to have a reminder to cherish those times that are fleeting and so precious.

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