how a trip to Target reminded me what’s important

On Saturday morning, I got to Target around 10:00. I’m not a fan of shopping and had been putting off buying new shoes for about a month. Entering the bright red store that lacked its familiar aroma of popcorn, I made a bee line to the shoes. As I tried on various pairs, I encountered a dad and his son (he looked to be about 3) fumbling around in the little girls’ aisle. This was the time of day where parents and young children trickle in so I expected to come across some moms- but not so much dads. It was sweet to see father-son bonding going on. And the fact that this dad was buying shoes for his little girls as well was great! I smiled at the boy as they found what they came for and moved on.

After thirty minutes of walking around in different flats, I had two pairs of my own size in hand and wandered over to the home décor and office areas of the store. I spent awhile wondering what I would do with some cute tables and talked myself out of a few baskets and plastic bins. (I like to organize things). And by the time I made it back around to the front of the store, more people had begun trickling in.

Now, I was used to seeing this on Sundays. You reach that point where the magical hours of peaceful shopping ceases and everyone gets out of church and starts pouring into the stores in their nice dresses, pants, and button-up shirts. But this was Saturday. So when I saw a handful of women dressed in black dresses with their hair done up and makeup on their cheeks, I did a double take.

My first thought was that I had stumbled upon a group of dedicated Catholics who had just come from Saturday morning mass. Crazy Colleen thoughts, I know… Mind you, my immediate reactions are often untrue. My second idea was that there was some sort of graduation, award ceremony, brunch, concert, or service they had come from. It’s that time of year- you never know! It was probably around 11:00AM or so at this point, so I settled on that. Either they looked really good after a late night of partying or they went to some kind of breakfast. I didn’t think more of it, wished my cashier a good day, and went on my way.

The little boy and his dad crossed my mind again as I left the parking lot. I made a mental note to marry a patient man like that– one who would take his son on shopping trips and know which shoes to get his daughter.

Now, my drive home from Target is pretty much the end of the work route I take every day. And if you’re a commuter yourself, you’ll understand that the same scenery can fade into the background after awhile. So as I made my exit from the interstate and passed the same funeral home and cemetery I pass every other day, I was surprised to see people standing under the awning in the parking lot.

There’s rarely ever a car there. But on Saturday, there was a small group of people dressed in black, huddled together talking. I immediately remembered the girls at Target. Now whether or not they came from that funeral, I’ll probably never know. But it reminded me that people were burying a loved one that day. And people are dying every day. And as I made my way back home, I thought about death and dads and sons and moms and sisters and friends. It altered my perspective. Noticing these signs reminded me of what’s really important- the people, of course.

CRCH

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