Helpless in WalMart

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Friday, May 21, 2010 at 1:59 AM

This week is the week before Vacation Bible School at the church I attend. My wife Kim is a big player in that. Kim spends a great deal of time at the church this week, that means one thing for me; fatherhood.

Let’s just say this; I depend a great deal on my wife and this week always is an eye opener for me in the area of considering all Kim deals with on a daily bases. With one of my older children now married and two others living at a camp for the summer it leaves me with the four youngest, Matt 10, John 8, Caleb 3 and Gracie 16 months. I love my children and really it is no problem for me to take care of them, I enjoy it.

But for some reason when we go anywhere we attract quite a bit of attention. I am not sure if it is the fact that I am a man walking around with four children. I am not sure if it is the age of the children. I just know when we are doing business people take notice.

The other night we took a little trip to Wal-Mart, just me and the little guys. With Gracie in one arm, Caleb holding my hand (most of the time), John pushing the basket and Matt hanging around we went to work. Really I thought we did quite well with no major incidents. Sure we almost took out a couple of people with the basket and Caleb did perform a few break aways but for the most part everything was in check, until…

Until I ran into my greatest nemesis; the self check out. Oh how I long for the days when someone would check me out, take my money and send me on my way. Normally I will do anything to find a human to check me out but I was in a hurry and feeling pretty good about myself. Not to mention the fact that the friendly lady was telling me how easy it was. So I took the plunge.

It was at this moment when I started attracting attention. Holding Gracie in one hand I attempted to scan my goods. This left Caleb free (never a good thing) while John and Matt tried to figure out what I wanted them to do with the basket, thinks weren’t clicking, chaos ensued. Fortunately the friendly lady was making friends with Caleb as he crawled under the basket. This did not look good but at least I knew where he was.

While everyone watched I kept one eye on Caleb, held onto Gracie, scanned and paid for my products while calling out commands to Matt and John. It was a bit of a helpless feeling, I felt a little out of control, but one thing got me through it. My new employee friend at Walmart. Something tells me she has seen things like this before.

This is what I know not just from Walmart but from other events in my life; when you are helpless, you need a friend, and God is good to send at least one.

Using my Walmart friend as an example lets pause and do two things this morning, one acknowledge how friends operate and two see if we are a friend:

  • Friends do not judge you in the mist of your helpless moment. The employee at Walmart simply took charge, and helped me through it. She never said anything like where is your wife or why did she let you out of the house, though those would have been good questions!
  • Good friends take action; they jump in where they can. My helper talked to Caleb and kept him at bay while I handled the rest. She did not try to do too much, she did what she could, that is always enough.
  • Good friends do not make you feel bad for being helpless. They do not say words like I told you so or you should have done it this way. They just help.
  • Good friends have a good attitude about helping. They do it willingly with a smile. Recently another good friend of mine knowing I was in a helpless state simply asked me this, “what can I do to serve you.” Enough said. Normally when you are feeling helpless you’re not feeling too good about yourself, a smile and friendly attitude goes a long way toward allowing you to accept the situation.
  • A good friend expects nothing in return. Sure my buddy at Walmart was getting paid but believe me just because someone is getting paid does not mean they have to be friendly. There was no raise in it for her, nothing extra just doing her job, helping out a guy who needed it before moving on to her next customer.

We will all find ourselves in helpless situations from time to time. God knows that and it will not catch him by surprise. He will be ready to send a friend by your side, fortunately for me my friend was in a blue Walmart vest.

Thank God for the friends He sends your way, then keep your eyes open and look to be a friend when given a chance.


Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” NIV

Proverbs 17:17, “Friends love through all kind of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” The Message

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pause and thank you for our friends. They love us when we are helpless and when we are hard to love. We thank you that they stick with us. Heavenly Father help us to be good friends, to jump in when needed, to have a good attitude about what we do. We ask all these things in Christ name, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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