Recently a couple saw the face of Jesus on their Wal-Mart receipt. When this phenomenon was reported by Yahoo, the scoffers began ranting. Perusing a few of their comments, I was struck by the vehemence of their negativity. Where are the open minds?
This incident triggered a few memories of my own Wal-Mart epiphanies. There’s just something about those giant ceramic teacup planters, I guess, that brings you back to normalcy when you’re feeling depressed or out of touch with reality. I myself would never deny that strolling the aisles of Wal-Mart can be a somewhat spiritual experience. You find what you’re looking for, I suppose.
On the other hand, sometimes things take you by surprise. For instance, I remember one particularly dark day when I had to make the dreaded trek to the store for necessities, like shampoo and toilet paper. (Life goes on, even during dark days.) As I entered through the automatic doors (thank goodness for those on days when you don’t even have the energy to “push”), I thought to myself, “This is why people don’t smile.” (“This” of course referring to life issues that shatter dreams, crush hearts and break wills.)
I remember trudging slowly through the store, mechanically gathering the familiar items, and finally standing in line at the check-out. Staring straight ahead and focusing on Life and her tricks, I was not expecting to feel any differently when I exited than when I had entered. Placing the items on the counter, I waited my turn.
The check-out girl was friendly and cheerful, which only served to magnify my misery. For once, I did not feel like returning her smile. I just stood there, debit card in hand, waiting for the total. Approved, I waited for the receipt. As she handed it to me, she said, “Have a nice day.”
I cannot explain what happened next. Something snapped inside me. A sort of energy suddenly welled up in me, and I thought to myself, “You know, I believe I will have a nice day!” In that moment I simply decided to have a nice day. My circumstances had not changed. My surroundings had not changed. The only thing that had changed was my mind.
When I left the store, I took more with me than toiletries and groceries. I took the knowledge that I could indeed choose what I would think about. I would have a nice day because I would not allow my circumstances to ruin my life. This attitude adjustment would be a long, slow process, but I wasn’t thinking about that as I walked to the car. I was thinking about how I felt. I felt better . . . lighter . . . stronger.
Was it miraculous? To me it was. Was it God? I like to think so. Did Jesus put his face on a Wal-Mart check-out receipt? I don’t know.
But he could if he wanted to.