Costco’s bulk blessings.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent a lovely, teen-free morning photographing an old, brick house and perusing antiques. It was our time. However, and contrary to a previous post, Sorry, Costco. You’ve been bumped., we interrupted our date time to pick up a few things at Costco–‘cuz nothing screams romance to busy parents like Costco on a Saturday, right? 🙂 Together, we strategized: quick trip in and out, then a stop at Starbucks for a bit more “alone time” before heading home. I reconsidered our plan as we waited in line to simply turn into the parking lot. “Are we sure we want to do this?” I asked. (It had been my suggestion to begin with.) “We’re here,” he replied. (“Just say, NO” was my unspoken plead.)

As we entered the parking lot, my husband turned away from the flow of traffic and headed for the “North Forty.” We were in a parking space within moments. I opened my door against the hurricane force winds and hair whipped against my face. “We’re sure?” I asked once more, but he was already heading toward the door. As we walked through the parking lot, I noticed the throngs of people moving with us. “So, this is what an “Occupy Costco” movement looks like,” I thought. We weren’t at our “usual” Costco and I suddenly missed the familiarity of the store I could map by heart. I calculated the additional time required to navigate the foreign aisles. Mentally, I prepared myself to do battle with aggressive Saturday shoppers. There was only one cart left when we reached the entrance. Another shopper, a man, and I approached simultaneously. Graciously, he yielded to me. A quick parking space and a gracious fellow shopper? Perhaps, our side-trip wouldn’t be so bad after all. I relaxed my shoulders as I flashed my card to the gate-keeper.

Although busy, we were able to maneuver through the pallets of canned goods, the refrigerator packed with vegetables, and the hordes of people awaiting their samples of sausage, crackers, and clams with minimal effort. At one point, I couldn’t help but chuckle inside as I waited in the line of carts neatly positioned in front of the fresh meat cooler. With every step, I imagined myself as part of a flash mob waiting to break into a conga-line-bunny-hop. No bunny-hop, but no rude, aggressive shoppers either–just people, wanting to stock their cupboards, like me. There were couples sharing tastes of this or that sample, children exploring Christmas toys, friends chatting over books, and strangers helping each other load large items, all with patience and common courtesy. That was Costco, on a Saturday.

We headed to the check out lines ready for a long wait given the number of people shopping. Surprisingly, we were in line just long enough to unload our cart before the cashier scanned our first item. Then, I noticed the sign posted at the register announcing Costco’s holiday schedule;  the holiday shopping season opened yesterday with the start of their extended hours. I felt a chill run down my spine and a brief panic course through my veins. It was no longer a simple Saturday trip to Costco, we were in the midst of official holiday shopping (despite the absence of gifts in our basket.) But, here we were, finishing up at checkout and our trip had been so easy…so friendly…so effortless.

For a moment, I stood in awe of the experience. I had gone in to pick up a few things to round out the week’s menu, my eyes down, focused solely on getting back to our date. Instead, I discovered something new hidden in the aisles of the warehouse giant; bulk blessings. I was blessed to be among people, just like me, doing the best they can to balance the demands of life while standing in the conga-line. I was blessed to get in and out quickly despite the Saturday crowd. I was blessed by the humor of our check-out clerk and the smile on the gal’s face as we left the store. And, I was blessed to simply be sharing time with  my husband, even at a Costco.

As we made our way back to our car, traffic was still heavy in the parking lot. For the most part, people were patient as they entered and exited the maze of parking spaces. However, I noticed one woman who gripped the wheel tightly and didn’t yield to my husband as he crossed the lane of traffic. Impatiently, she swerved around him to reach a parking space. I knew the pinched look on her face. I suspect it was on my own when we first pulled in. Silently, I wished her bulk blessings before I went on my way; there was a pumpkin latte calling my name, and I had two more blessings waiting for me at home.

Where have you found hidden blessings in an ordinary day?

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