Yesterday was a day like most others; I ground my coffee, I showered and primped, I said good-bye to my cat, I worked, and I giggled with my co-workers. The day ended, and it seemed like a million other days that I have experienced in life. As I was about to drive my co-worker home, I turned to her and said, “Well, that’s another one in the bag!”
Deeply preoccupied with the typical musings, I embarked to finish a short to-do list that was bouncing around in my head before I arrived home. The first stop was the Dollar Store. I hadn’t written one down, but I knew there was an unwritten list of items I was committed to bring home; a roll of duct tape, 2 gallons of bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, 5 kitchen timers for the hospital, garbage bags, etc. Knowing full well that I may forget something, I kept repeating the list in my head over and over. Before I had known it, I had driven 7 miles and didn’t remember making one conscious decision about controlling a nearly 2-ton vehicle down the road. That always amazes me.
I parked the car and headed into the store. I grabbed a cart and began the game of finding everything on my list. As I turned into the fourth isle, I realized my purse was still over my shoulder. Usually, I put it on that small shelf in the basket, but I had already filled that shelf with small items on my mental shopping list. So, I lowered the purse in the deeper basket. I finished shopping and paid for the items. All the bagged items ended up in the deeper basket.
As I pushed the cart to my car, I noticed a parent reprimanding a small child in a way I was afraid had approached inappropriate. I continued to observe them, while considering my options of getting involved if this escalated. As the final bag was placed in my car, relief flowed over me as this parent’s anger diminished. Feeling somewhat guilty for not returning the cart to the store, I mindlessly pushed the cart up an embankment (making sure no one saw me).
Then, off to the Wild Bird Store for seed for my feeders. Another 9 miles of monkey mind, bouncing from imagining how I would have handled that Mom if needed, to pride over getting everything on the list, to what seed I needed and a conversation I had had at work. I arrived at the store and turned to grab….MY PURSE! It’s not there. Yes, I had left my purse, with a wallet full of credit cards, an ATM card, my driver’s license, my Mother’s medical cards, and MY PHONE! Complete panic. What would one do in this situation? I couldn’t even call anyone. I couldn’t text for help.
I decided to drive the 9 miles back to the store though what was then rush hour traffic, taking twice as long. My mindfulness training told me to observe myself and just accept the feelings that were washing ALL OVER ME. My heart rate and blood pressure were at an all-time high and I wanted to do that little girl, just let it go, sobbing cry. Part of me said, “there is no way the purse will still be in the basket.” Then again, part of me said, “the good part of you is supposed to say…if someone took it, they must have needed it”. The two sides of me battled as I navigated to the parking lot.
The car swung into the lot and there sat the cart, still on the shameful embankment…sans purse. I make my way across the lot thinking…”this is a walk of shame”. I asked the cashier about the purse and he stated that no one had come in and reported a lost purse. I gave them my information and left totally defeated. The only thing left to do was go home, borrow a phone and call the police, credit cards companies and my bank.
The journey home was long and inundated with how on earth was I going to handle this. How does one buy a new phone without a credit card? How does one get money without an ATM card? How does my Mom’s Assisted Living contact me in the event of an emergency?
As I pull into my driveway, I was doing a lot of self-talk. “No need to get upset, Vickie, just see this as a challenge and a call to do things differently.” I approached my home and a neighbor ran out of her place with my blue purse in hand. That’s when I did the little girl cry!
Apparently. a young gentleman found the purse, carefully went through for an address, drove far from his intended direction and he waited outside my home for 40 minutes. Finally, my neighbor saw him ring my bell a bunch of times and inquired if she could help.
He left his phone number and I was able to thank him for being such a good person. He shared that he could only imagine my horror at the situation. We chatted for a few minutes and then he was gone. All I had left of this young man was a clear image on my security camera feed. As I stared at his image I smiled as one realization washed over me…. NOT ALL ANGELS HAVE WINGS!