Sunday was a hot, but not scorching, day in Kelowna, British Columbia. I set out on foot to do a little shopping at a nearby supermarket. Crossing the parking lot of Prospera Place, I was stopped by a family of Japanese tourists. Several of them spoke excellent English so I was able to help them find a source of beach towels and sunscreen within walking distance.
By the Rotary Centre for the Arts, friends called my name. They split their year between New Zealand and Canada but had come home early so Sue could be in Halifax for the writing course she began a couple years ago. These two talented women are role models for aging with verve. Their “retirement” years are filled with the joy of new directions. Bonnie is an artist whose work regularly stops me in my tracks. Sue is honing her craft in an international writing course. I am already looking forward to the book that will be the end product.
In the grocery store, the young man stocking the produce shelves stopped what he was doing and cheerfully retreated to the store room to bring out the limes for me. When I bought my groceries and loaded them in my pack, I suddenly wondered what I had done with my sunglasses. The young man behind me pointed out I had hooked them on my blouse. Instead of shaking his head at a senior moment, he told me he had recently looked all over his house for the glasses he was wearing.
One of my panhandling regulars asked me for a dollar when I passed him on my way to the store. I told him if I had change when I came back by, I would give it to him. All I ended up with were two quarters, but he received them with a sunny smile and a big thanks.
As I ambled back home, I came across an unusual sight, police tape across the street I had planned to walk along. I asked the nearest cop what was up. “We’re investigating a suspicious package,” he said. We have a lot of homeless neighbors so odd-looking packages are nothing particularly alarming around here. On the other hand, I appreciate the police, fire fighters and hazardous materials folk who are tasked with the potentially dangerous job of checking out things like that. So I thanked him and gave him a high five. And he thanked me, with a wide smile.
When I approached the crosswalk near home, a car slowed and stopped without my even looking at the driver or hitting the button that would have set a light flashing. Drivers do that here in Canada. They watch out for pedestrians.
I was gone only an hour, but when I returned home I felt blessed by every encounter. These small moments of grace are nothing out of the ordinary, but they are the oil that smooths the wrinkles in our lives. That is one of the reasons a gratitude journal can be so powerful. Keeping track of those moments of grace can be a powerful antidote when the inevitable shadows darken our days.
So that is one ordinary but beautiful hour in my day. What are you grateful for today?