I had intended to take my camera a couple of times before when I went grocery shopping, but it was only yesterday that I remembered. Camera in hand, I entered the store, pulled a cart from its long line of cousins, and walked directly to the produce department. There among the squash, I lingered.
Aren’t they beautiful. I looked this morning on a couple of search engines to discover how many varieties of squash there actually are, but I didn’t find the answer. There must be hundreds–or maybe thousands. I stood at the bin pictured here and considered the many different kinds in this one store alone. Some of the globes had names on them, while others were anonymous. I love that turban squash you can see there, so well named, for indeed it strongly resembles a turbaned head. I thought to buy one of those a few weeks ago, but it would have set me back more than $5.00 which seemed a bit pricey to me.
A friendly clerk who often checks out my purchases came up to me as I stood among the squashes. “Taking pictures?”
“Yep, I think these squash are so beautiful.”
“They are,” she agreed.
Then a boy–probably 12 or 13–sidled up and stood beside me.
“Are you a painter?”
“No, I don’t paint,” I said. “I only take pictures.” I raised my eyes from my bead on the vegetables and asked the boy, “Do you paint?”
With an embarrassed gesture, he wriggled a bit before answering, “Well, a little bit.” He paused then, and fingering one of the squashes said as though only now thinking of it, “They are pretty, aren’t they?”
Today I wish I had lingered a while longer among the squashes, wish I had drawn out the young man more, wish I could have seen his heart a bit clearer, wish I had probed more deeply about his paintings, about his artistic self, about his dreams and ambitions.
For as beautiful and precious are the squash, so much more important is the young man who stood beside me yesterday. For recall, he lives forever. Help me God to be acutely aware of those beside whom I walk every day, to engage in every opportunity for ministry, to touch any soul who stands beside me…even if it happens to be in a grocery store…as together we stand in admiration before the squash bin.
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