I just got back from Wal-Mart with my wife Pam and I’m happy to report that we made it out safe. 

I dropped Pam off to find a parking place.  I found one… further away than I’ve ever parked before.  As I was going in the door I could swear I heard a cry for help, but there wasn’t time to do anything.  Oh well… I was already in the mode of fending for myself.  I hope he knew Jesus.  I wasn’t the Good Samaritan, but this is Wal-Mart at Christmas!

I found Pam (By cell phone) on aisle 2 and she must have gotten the last buggy because it pulled hard to the left (Wouldn’t you know it… LEFT not right!).  It wasn’t so bad at first… but by the end of our foray into shoppers hades I struggled to keep from running over people.

My worst driving experiences in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Birmingham do not come close to how many times I was cut off… given odd looks… passed… and tailgated in Wal-Mart by other buggy drivers today.  But it’s Christmas and if you go to Wal-Mart this time of year, you kind of expect it.  I found myself getting close to “road rage” a time or two.  But I kept reminding myself that I’m a pastor and I can’t lose it in public.

At one point I realized I was the source of a tie up on aisle 8.  I had created a bottleneck and at least 4 buggy drivers were backed up behind me.  I’m sure that if one lady (That’s a stretch) had a horn she would have sat down on it to get me out of the way.  But thanks to my sweet wife who doubled as a rear view mirror, I moved just in time to prevent a full fledged jam.

Finally… 45 minutes, 300 pounes added to my buggy (That’s what it seemed like), several minor “buggy benders” later, it was time to check out.  I’m almost sure that just before a person enters hades they must have to go through some kind of similar check out that just is a preview of what eternity in that God forsaken place will be like.

But I caught a break.  I saw that check out #9 had only one person in it and only 4 items not yet scanned.  But at the same time another person two checkouts to the left saw the opening too… and the race was on!  I caught a second break when my opponent (Opponent?!  Another buggy driver an enemy/opponent?!  What happened to me?!!)… the other driver spun out by another driver doing a classic “PIT” manuver.

How did I catch such a good break in the middle of such bedlam?  It must have been that I had a quiet time… naah.  I just got lucky.

The check out went smooth.  Everything was bagged and placed back in my buggy from the rotating carousel of plastic sacks.  As I began to exit I looked back… much like Lot’s wife without the salt event… and here’s what I saw…

  1. Hundreds of people lined up with hundreds more looking for the shortest check out line.

  2. Many people zoned out as they waited in line while people ahead of them fumbled for their money, checks, and/or debit cards.

  3. A few kids crying for candy with parents ignoring them due to battle fatigue.

  4. Then I saw people coming in.  Some had their faces steeled for what they knew was coming… some seemed happy who were probably unaware of what was coming… some were just in auto pilot (These were husbands who were dutifully following their wives into the foray).

I made it out safely.  My wife was also safe.  All our purchases were intact.  We found our vehicle in the same condition we left it.  And last… we won’t have to go back again (God willing) till AFTER Christmas Day. 

I sighed… looked toward heaven… and appreciated the fact that I was able to go to Wal-Mart… That I had money to buy stuff at Wal-Mart… That I have a wife & family who love me… That I live in a free country… That my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life… that I am blessed more than I deserve.  So I have no reason to whine… gripe… or complain.  God is good!