Today I went to the grocery store with my three year old. I’m feeling relatively well, with plenty of energy for the task at hand, and in a pretty good mood. She loves to go shopping, so it is usually a joyful experience to be with her in the store. I have put off shopping for more than a week….so we were down to pretty barebones and needed more than usual.

I do use my oxygen when I go grocery shopping. I’ve learned by experience that I get too worn out and extremely fatigued by the activity if I try to go without (even though I don’t think my oxygen actually drops below the threshold). So, my illness isn’t exactly invisible…but I feel that typically in times like these, I smile enough and have enough spring in my step most people don’t pay much attention or probably assume there’s not too much wrong with me.

There is one particular checkout lady that my husband has always told me is the best one of them all. Today I was able to get into her checkout lane with my overflowing cart of items. I had so much stuff, the girl bagging offered to get a second cart, which I readily agreed to…to be honest I was just happy someone else was bagging all those groceries.

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After I was finished and with a line behind me, the checkout lady got close to me and in a bit of a whisper asked me if I had respiratory issues. I told her that I had an autoimmune issue and my lungs have been damaged by that. She looked me deeply in my eyes for a few moments and said, “I’d like to pray over you.” I was kinda of taken aback, but I said ok.

I should mention – I’m not at all religious, I never have been. I do not identify as a Christian or anything else (including Atheist). I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in a church (maybe two hands if you count weddings) in my entire life. But when this woman took my hands, bent her head down towards mine and softly began her prayer for healing…I could not help but be moved by the love and genuine feeling she had behind her prayer. Her prayer gave me a sense of peace, love, hope and community in those moments. I felt in those moments that she saw me. All of me. She saw a woman doing all she could to live life, a wife and mother doing what she could to take care of her family, a patient doing all she could to be healthy.

The line patiently waited – no one scoffed or left the line or said a word. She said her prayer in the name of Jesus Christ and I’m happy that, even though I’m a “non-believer,” I’m open to the world, to people and to love, enough to take in all the goodness her prayer had to offer me. I am always grateful for those that tell me they are praying for me. I felt truly blessed by choosing her check out line. I went in for groceries and left with so much more.

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