8: An Abundant Blessing of Watermelons

8: An Abundant Blessing of Watermelons

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

An Abundant Blessing of Watermelons

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.

~Marcus Aurelius

I was driving down the highway, in the left lane, when I felt a sudden urge to get off at the next exit. Something told me that I needed to visit my favorite thrift store. When I got this kind of feeling, I almost always discovered a treasure.

As I made my way through the store, I noticed a giant wicker basket that was hidden behind various odds and ends. After some pulling and maneuvering, I was able to extract it and open the lid, finding an abundance of watermelon plasticware. Inside were watermelon plates, cups, sauce containers, pitchers for tea and lemonade, and baskets to hold food or carry dishes. All of this, perhaps more than 100 pieces, was wedged into this gorgeous basket — everything one could need for a picnic.

I had just purchased a lake house and was looking for something quirky and simple for entertaining and this would be perfect. There was no price listed on the basket, so I went off to find a salesperson. I found one who was just returning from lunch, and when she noticed the name badge I was wearing, from a hospice, she started talking. Her mom had been one of our first patients many years ago, and she told me this was a difficult time of year for her because of the upcoming holidays. I let her know that I was a grief counselor, and I had some upcoming programming that dealt with how to cope with the holidays. I invited her to attend. We talked for a little bit longer and settled on a price of ten dollars for the picnic set, and then I made my way back to the car.

On my drive back, I spent some time thinking about everything that had to fall into place in order for all of those connections to be made. For instance, I just happened to be on that side of town, when I could have been anywhere within a fifty-mile radius. Then, I stopped at that particular thrift store and was drawn toward a bottom shelf with a basket that was partially obscured and hidden in the back. And because there was no price tag on the basket, I had to find a salesperson, and she happened to be a person who needed to talk to someone with my expertise. If I hadn’t left on my name badge, she wouldn’t even have known that I could help her.

Smiling, I made my way back to work, content that something amazing had just happened. I was eager to share with my co-workers about how all things are connected and how powerful that connection can be. Little did I know that the story would not end there.

The next morning, I shared the experience with my peers, and I described my treasure — the basket full of watermelon plasticware. And then I noticed a look on my friend’s face — a look that went from surprise and wonder to peace all in one moment. Her mother-in-law had recently passed away, and she and her husband had painstakingly sorted and organized and donated items to the thrift store just that previous weekend. Her husband had grown up with — you guessed it — a giant wicker basket filled with watermelon plasticware, but he figured that someone else could benefit from using it more than they could.

I got chills as I understood what had happened. Because I had listened to that “message from above” — that urge — I was given an unexpected gift that was threefold: an amazing picnic set that was perfect for my new house; a chance encounter with someone who needed to receive grief support, which allowed me to be present for her in her time of sadness; and, lastly, I was able to give a gift to a friend and her husband — the knowledge that his mom’s watermelon set had found a new home and would be cherished by my family for years to come.

~Jenny Filush-Glaze

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