Lemon Meringue pie

I was at the store buying groceries…I was pretty tired and was trying to get the shopping done, on my own, to save my husband from having to take time, to go with me. We usually do the shopping together, but both of us have been too busy to go.

When I went to the store parking lot, my small cart was so full that I left it at the front of the store, and brought my truck to the front, to load the groceries, so that the bags would not topple out of the cart, walking through the bumpy parking lot.

This stranger came up to me, a friendly black man, and said “maam, can I help you load your bags because I would like to share my joy with you”. I loved how he asked me if he could help and how he wanted to share his joy. This complete stranger helped me make several trips to load up the groceries and then he went on his way to his own truck. I said THANK YOU!

When this happened, I DID feel joy. The tiredness I had been feeling just disappeared. I do not think I have ever had a stranger offer to help me put away groceries before. It really made my day!

I had just written an article about the value of protecting life in all individuals, including minority populations, and I felt like this act of kindness was God’s way of showing me he approved of my writing. I have been trying to radically rely on God, and I am always looking for ways God is speaking to me, through the bible or through other people.

This constant “communication” with God is helping me to be a better person, and is calling me to elevate my thinking higher and higher, and not be satisfied with less than my best.

When I got home I realized I had not gotten edamame. I was planning to make a poke bowl, something I learned from Heather, my son Jonathan's wife, and her sister Kendall, and it involves serving all kinds of toppings( mango, mandarin oranges, salmon, chopped nuts, edamame, shredded carrots pineapple, avocado, friend onion rings etc.) to put on rice, with yum yum sauce. I was making it because, since people can choose their own toppings, the meal can be suitable for meat eaters and vegetarians at the same time. I have one family member who does not eat meat, so I am trying to be accommodating when I can.

When I went back to the store, I was not annoyed that I had forgotten an item, because that joy from my earlier shopping helper, had stayed with me. I finally found the edamame in the frozen section (had not ever bought it before) and as I was walking to the checkout, there was this cute little eight inch lemon meringue pie calling my name. “Buy me Buy me” lol.

I have recently given up drinking coffee, (no mo joe) and now I am starting to eliminate sugar, but at the same time I really wanted to have just ONE SLICE of this yummy pie. ( or two).

When I got to the register, the checkout lady could not get the pie price to scan and I joked saying “it is free” and she laughed and said “oh they gave it to you”? I then heard a ding from the register, and the lady said I could pay with my card, and I said thank you and walked out with my purchases. As I got to the car I looked at my receipt to see how much the pie was and I realized that she had not charged me for the pie. “Oh no” I thought, “did she believe me when I said it was free and not charge me”? I had just been joking.

It was ninety degrees, and I had parked way away from the store entrance, so to go all the way back, was really something I did not really feel like doing. I told myself that I would pay for the pie the next time I was at the store.

But then I thought about the man and the joy, and how I felt like that “blessing” came to me because I had done something right with my writing. I was trusting God to be a blessing to me and my family and everyone around me, but it required me to radically rely on truth, and always try to do good, even when it was not convenient, and even when no one was looking. I knew I should not “wait” to do the right thing “later” when it was convenient. Radically obedient meant I had to do it right now.

So, I walked all the way back to the same lady, and told her of the money I owned and she said thank you to me for coming back. I knew I would not enjoy the pie if I had kept it, without paying for it.

I remember how Abraham Lincoln supposedly walked miles to return some small change that was not his..and I HOPED that I would do the same, in similar circumstances, because I know how tempting it is to just “let it slide”.

But for those of us who want to see radical miracles and radical blessings, we have to be radically good, in spite of the environment, excuses, or inconveniences. This means we cannot be impatient when things do not go our way, we cannot throw things when we are angry, we cannot allow addictions to rule our lives. We must be kind, gentle and patient with our fellow man and with our children and families. This is something we can all do.

The pie was delicious. And even though I had a few slices, I know I will still be able to lose weight because I am still listening to God, and being obedient to whatever he tells me to do.

I thought about the mathematical pi as well. The first 10 digits of pi (π) are 3.1415926535. Pi goes on for infinity, and likewise, blessings are infinite and are easily earned when we are listening to good.

Spiritually we can understand how to lose “weight” by not carrying around the extra weight of guilt, for things that we should not have done, because we are really trying to obey God’s laws. It is liberating and wonderful to NOT carry that emotional baggage that comes with being self serving or ignoring God.

We are all capable of radical reliance on Truth. It is a great way to experience JOY.




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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.