The Road I Travel – Ripped Off

Cameos from a fellow-traveller on God’s Highway by Lynne Drake © 24-11-2005

By Lynne Drake
By Lynne Drake

Grocery shopping is not a chore in which I revel. However, there is one particular aspect of it from which I get great reward. Conveniently placed in strategic positions in the fresh produce department of my favourite supermarket, there are Sleek Silver Dispensers that hold plastic bags.  One is required to rip the individual bag off the roll at the perforated position.

This Friend of the Shopper hangs at about head height. It is high tech and hair triggered.

Over the years, I have developed what I can only consider an incredible skill and it brings a certain pleasure in an otherwise mundane event.  Each time I make my own particular selection of fruit and veg, I gleefully approach the Sleek Silver Dispenser of plastic bags.   With supreme confidence and efficiency of movement, I grasp the edge of the plastic bag dangling just above my head.  With unbelievable speed, I give a quick snap of the wrist and remove one individual bag without as much as a twitch from the Sleek Silver Dispenser.  I try not to smirk at my skill but am aware that my fellow shoppers stand in awe of my dexterity and only good manners prevents them breaking into loud applause.

I can achieve this feat nine times out of ten.  I guess yesterday was the tenth time.

Holding my four succulent, vine ripened tomatoes in one hand I walk up to the Sleek Silver Dispenser and calmly snap my wrist as per usual and….did I mention these things are hair triggered?

My eyes became transfixed on the ever-increasing mound of biodegradable plastic bags heaping up at my side as the Silver Dispenser rapidly offloads its full cargo onto the floor. The deathly silence around me is proof every eye in the store is witnessing my fall from perfection.

Totally mortified, I hide my head in my Environmentally Friendly shopping bag and scuttle three aisles away where I become engrossed in the labels on Peanut Butter jars.

Life does not always go the way we plan it.

On the day of our wedding, the love of my life and I plighted our troth despite not being at all sure what a ‘troth’ was, tying it up neatly together with the words ‘till death us do part’ never expecting that it will end that way. Our love is forever.  And forever never ends. Does it?

On the 11th February 2000 my husband died.  This was not in my blueprint.

When you live with someone longer than you live without them, your world tends to splinter at their removal. The tendency is to draw the curtains, rip the phone off the wall and stoically await your own demise. Cloistered within the darkness of the soul one attempts to bring their personal manuscript to the obvious conclusion…THE END.

But God – my two favourite words – usually has other ideas. The Apostle Paul has always impressed me with his statement ‘I have learned to be content…’ Learned, being the operative word. His example of putting the past behind, and pushing forward to the prize of life still lying ahead is pure wisdom.

Driving down the highway of destiny, I too, have begun to sip from this same River of Wisdom flowing from the heart of a merciful God.  Even in the darkest of days, I was aware of blessings and grace continually pouring into my broken heart – like tender raindrops on a sun-parched plain.

“My plan for you has not changed”, was the whisper within my soul, “Recriminations, remorse and regret will come like vultures flapping at the window of your mind seeking a place to roost, to drag you down. Do not listen, there is so much more yet to come. Lift your vision,” was the challenge.

For the first time since my husband’s death, I find myself thanking God for my place in life right now.  Only occasionally, as I see an elderly couple walking together holding hands, do I feel a stabbing pain and think ‘Ripped Off!  I’ve been ripped off like a plastic bag from a Sleek Silver Dispenser in the Supermarket!’

Then my heart turns back to the Lord, and I smile, for I have a secret assignment looming on the horizon – something I am attempting in the name of the Lord that will only succeed by His power and strength.  Yes, I am even able to say thank you for my widowhood right now for it allows me to concentrate on fulfilling the orders of my Commanding Officer.

Life has a habit of hitting us broadside unexpectedly, but when we base our life on God’s promises, we have an anchor that holds us secure in the wildest storm.  Just as God’s word holds true for me, so it does for you:

“I will bless you with a future filled with hope – a future of success, not of suffering”.

Who knows what lies around the next bend? It may well be bumps, bruises or battering. On the other hand, it could be a grand new vista, a brand new start, an incredible revelation, or a bouquet of blessings beyond anything you could think or even imagine!

A good enough reason to…

Keep travelling!