Friday, September 19, 2014

The Winding Path (or, First World Problems at Target)

I'd just finished shopping at Target and was walking to my car, but I couldn't find it. Plus, I was holding a chai latte I'd just bought at the in-store Starbucks, which made it trickier to push my cart, and turn my cart around, and push my cart in another direction.... You get the gist. Ugh.

I knew that, as problems go, this one was silly and minor. I'd just purchased various items, all of which I could have lived without. I was carrying an overpriced, overcalorized drink as I tried to find my dependable car so that I could drive to my uncrowded single-family home. This was a First World Problem if there ever was one. But, silly or not, I was getting annoyed.

As I walked toward yet another row of vehicles, a car pulled up next to me. "Do you know where this highway is?" she asked, naming a well-known road that happens to be close to my house. I spent the next minute or two telling her how to get there and how to avoid the toll road on her way.

As I continued toward my car (which was, astonishingly, right where I'd left it), I thought about the way my path had crossed with that of the lost driver. She was in search of a Bealle's department store, and couldn't use the map on her phone since it had died. Yes, yes--hers was another First World Problem. But I really was happy I could help, happy she'd asked me since I knew the area of town she needed to find, happy I'd taken the winding path to my car so I could encounter her.

I've heard before that it's not about the destination; it's about the journey. And when my path (literal or figurative) is less than straight, that longer journey can provide opportunities. I hope I keep my eyes open for those opportunities and take the time to appreciate them. My chai latte will still taste good if it's a little lukewarm.

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