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  • Writer's pictureChar Seawell

Weeping in Walmart


Some days come with their own unexpected beauty.  Beyond the sunrise, beyond that first sip of dark, hot coffee with a treat of sweet cream, beyond the dreaming puppy alongside me on the couch.  And perhaps it is the unexpectedness that is the most sweet.  But on most days, I simply settle for the expected.


You see, I am not a visionary.  Ideas are crammed into my head like cotton balls, but I mostly leave them there in pursuit of other goals.  Or no goals at all, honestly.  But I love coming alongside visionaries in whatever way I can to support their grit and determination to make the world a better place, one person at a time.


Last week, for some reason, every person we love dearly who is on the front lines of their visionary work sent photos and updates for the fields in which they work.  And that one day alone, my texts were filled with joyful news and even more opportunities to participate in a more just world


Honestly, my heart was so full from joy that even the prospect of the chaos of a necessary mid day trip to Walmart could not dampen my spirit. It was one of those days when the entire world seemed to expand around me.  Every person in the store seemed more friendly.  The colors in the aisles seemed brighter.  The very air seemed filled with goodness.


And then I heard it.


Very loudly, coming down the aisle, a young mother was singing “The ants go marching two by two hoorah, hoorah” much to the delight of her toddler son sitting in the seat of the cart.  As she came closer, I could hear her stop between each chorus and ask him, “How many next?”  And right after his answer, she would burst into the next verse.


As she neared me, I made eye contact and told her she had a beautiful voice, and that I too used to sing out loud in stores with my kids.  As I spoke, her son sat transfixed by her, smiling from ear to ear.  She smiled back at him and looked back up at me, pausing in her song, and simply said,


I would do anything to keep my son happy.


That was it.


I would do anything for my son.


I stood there and started to cry.  Right there in the middle of the aisle, as unembarrassed about my overflowing tears of gratitude as she was about her singing.  This day, this one day, I had been hijacked from my worries and concerns by unexpected beauty.  The beauty of knowing that someone, somewhere, might be working their way towards economic freedom. The beauty of knowing that someone, somewhere, was having a warm breakfast and fellowship.  The beauty of knowing that someone, somewhere was experiencing abundance in a new land.


I wiped my eyes and glanced at the woman and her son as I shopped the aisle. She continued to place items in her cart, now singing, the ants go marching six by six, and as she passed, she smiled and added,


And I don’t care who hears me.


Friends, today as I write this, my soul bursting with a song of gratitude, I feel exactly the same way. I cannot solve the problems of the world even with all the cotton balls in my brain. But I can do tiny things and you can do tiny things that will spill over into our ordinary comings and goings and bring hope and healing and unexpected beauty into a hurting world.


And that is worth singing about, no matter who hears you.




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