May 2, 2010

Edna the Oxymoron

She picked up the can of spaghetti sauce and inspected it. “I have never tried this brand. I wonder if it is any good”. She then picked up the box of cereal, “Oh this looks good. I wonder if this stays crunchy in milk.” Then to the box of cookies, “I once had a sister in Maine…”


In this fast-paced world that we live in, you would think that a little banter at the grocery aisle would be welcome. But in the case or Edna, meeting her at the grocery checkout was something that I dreaded.


It was in the late 1980s and Jennifer and I lived in Phoenix. The closest grocery store was an Alpha-Beta also known as ABCO. Barcodes had only recently been invented and hadn’t yet arrived at ABCO. So you had only two options when you were ready to leave. You could go through the normal checkout line, or if you had less than 15 items you could go through the express line. But there was only one problem with the express line. About half the time, you would encounter Edna. I remember coming home late one day after picking up a few things.


“I am sorry I’m late”, I said, “but the lady at the express line took forever. She kept providing commentary for every item”.


“Oh yes”, said Jennifer, “That’s Edna. She always provides commentary”.


“Yes, but it took longer to go through the express line than if I had gone through the normal line”.


“Welcome to Edna”, she said. We ended up giving her a nickname… Edna the Oxymoron.


When I was in a hurry, I dreaded finding Edna at the express line. But then a strange thing happened. Over time, I grew to love Edna. I truly enjoyed her. It was strangely enjoyable to watch people in a hurry become unglued at Edna’s pace. It was fun to taunt people behind me in line by actually engaging in the conversations that she started. Her eyes would twinkle when I would pause for a minute, slow down and talk about all manner of life as if we were old friends.


Jesus would have loved Edna. Not just because He loves everyone, but because she is an example of how He dealt with people. He was never so busy that He couldn’t spend time chatting with anyone. The simple truth is that our salvation is not dependent upon our pace of life. Jesus loves us whether we cram a thousand things into our schedule or whether we are more like Edna and make every encounter one to enjoy.




Pastor David Hook



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