Looking for the Graces

        The golden-yellow leaves, the long, narrow, pyramid-shaped ones, have mostly floated to the ground now. The big tree, once-ornamented with the vibrant yellow hues, stands naked regally. I consider it, walking briskly to work one afternoon. My heart heaves a little sigh and I wonder if Fall is slipping away, right from under my nose. How can most of the leaves be scuttling and dancing and tumbling across the driveway through the chilled air, already?  

         I savor the grandness of God’s tree with its twisted, crooked branches. I breathe in the fresh smell of autumn, before I retreat into the walls of a grocery store where I find my place at a register. As I pop my drawer into place and greet my first customer with a smile and a “how are you. today?” I wonder what beauty I’ll find inside.

          I’m looking for the graces. Because I believe – I know – they’re everywhere.

Melanie and I have fun together. I check customers out and she bags their groceries. We stifle laughter when I mistake a man for a woman and greet him as a lady. She tells me that I’m her favorite cashier to work with and I’m sad that she’s leaving in a week.  She’s grace to me.

I finally get to go home and the swift moving of the clock hands are grace to me, too. I’m feeling sick and lacking energy and clarity of mind. My body begs me to go home. But first, there’s Will. He puts out a fist for a “see ya later bump” and it’s kind of like a hug saying, “See ya later, sister. Get better!” Will knows Jesus and he’s fun. Will’s fist bump and his kindness are grace to me.

And Raymond. Raymond feels like a big, older brother. I love how he mutters under his breath when a customer asks for something ridiculous – like groceries in a paper bag that’s inside a plastic bag. “Ohhkaay,” He says, just like that. But he raises his eyebrows with the wonder and we laugh afterwards. Raymond is grace to me.

The customers too, both sweet and sour, are grace to me. I imagine them smoothing wrinkles out of my character, as I relate to them. The man who grunts to my hello and stares off into space and grabs the change rudely from my hand is grace. His hardness somehow softens my soul. I wonder what his story is? The lady who speaks softly and tells me that I’m a “nice, little girl”. “Some people are so grouchy, you know? But you’re so pleasant!” She says simply, but my heart warms. Young and old, rich and poor, kind and rude – they are grace to me.

And if I stop amidst the beeping of scanners, discourse of people, clatter of groceries falling into carts and bags, and look for the graces I find that they abound.

The new way of saying “how was your day” turns to something golden, as though it has been dipped in the glow of a setting sun. How was your day waxes spiritual, as instead we ask, “what was your grace today”?

Cause, Ryan and I? We’re out looking for the graces…