On strawberries, and God’s goodness

Strawberries are on sale at Aldi this week for 99¢. I HAD to have some.

I went grocery shopping last weekend, before this sale started, so I couldn’t justify another trip to Aldi.

Fortunately, I had an appointment on Wade Hampton yesterday, close enough to the Aldi that I could justify stopping in for the 99¢ strawberries. And the $1.49 pineapples. And the $1.69 bags of grapefruit. After the appointment, I headed over to Aldi in eager anticipation.

I’ve never seen the Aldi parking lot so full. I had to park in the third row of parking spaces, far away from the door and the cart-return area.

“This isn’t going to be pretty,” I thought.

It wasn’t.

You know how Aldi is set up so that everyone has to go down that first row? I think it took me 10 minutes to get down that row. I kept getting stuck behind people who couldn’t decide which cereal to buy, and seemed totally oblivious to the fact that they were causing a massive traffic jam on aisle 1.

It was gridlock.

I don’t know why I was so impatient about getting to the produce section, because  I knew they would be out of strawberries.

They were. They were out of grapefruit, too.

The worst part is that I had seen a truck parked at their loading dock. I knew they were getting a shipment. There was probably a whole pallet of yummy strawberries sitting on that truck or even in the stock room at this very moment. I briefly considered staging a sit-in by the produce section until they brought out my fruit. Then I called my husband (who was at an appointment in Simpsonville), and asked him to look for an Aldi out there.

Then I went to check-out. I figured I should get out of the madhouse before someone took my pineapple.

Since there were more people in the Aldi than I’ve ever seen before, the lines were long. Aldi cashiers are something akin to Olympic athletes, but even they were having trouble keeping up. When I finally got my turn, I discovered that my wallet was missing.

Really? The shopping-cart gridlock and no strawberries wasn’t enough. I had to lose my wallet, too?

The kind cashier pulled my card aside and started helping the next customer while I trudged out to the car to search for my wallet. I was pretty sure that I would find it, because I’d had it just 10 minutes ago. And I remembered hearing a small thud while I was driving. My wallet probably fell out of my purse.

I found my wallet. On my way back through the store, I grabbed a couple of other things that I had forgotten earlier in my frustration with the shopping cart gridlock. That took a while because I had to wait for approximately 3 minutes behind a lady at the yogurt case who apparently couldn’t find the flavor she wanted. Then I grabbed my yogurt and power-walked back up to the front.

And waited in an even longer line.

I tried to distract myself by chatting with the nice lady in front of me (who offered to let me go first because she saw that I was only holding 2 things). Instead I explained what had happened with my wallet, and tried to make myself feel thankful about the fact that my wallet wasn’t lost.

We waited, waited, and finally it was my turn again.

Just as the cashier started my transaction the second time, I turned around, and saw that the person behind me had strawberries. The stocker had just put them out.

Something inside me hit the “despair” button as I envisioned standing in line again (because obviously I had to go back and get some).

The cashier heard me asking the other customer about the berries. “Oh, do you want some? I can add them to your bill and you can just walk back and get them.”

So I did. I walked back and got three beautiful containers of strawberries. I love that cashier.

And I love the God who took the time to remind me that He is in control of everything and has a plan for everything. As I pushed my cart out to my car and back to the cart return, I thanked Him for letting my wallet fall out of my purse so that I would stay at Aldi long enough to get my strawberries.

I’m writing this, because I want to publicly thank God for His loving patience and generous provision for me. God isn’t obligated to show me why things happen, but hopefully this little incident will help me remember to trust Him all of the time.