A few days ago I entered my local Target store with literally one item on my shopping list. Within two minutes of entering the money pit, I was completely distracted and had a shopping-cart full of items that I really had no good use for. Trailing behind me, my three kids were up to their usual “ooohhhing” and “aaahhing” about the mercantile wonders of the superstore. Suddenly, my six year-old dropped the red-tagged, toothbrush-shaped back scratcher that he’d been arduously trying to convince me to purchase and stopped me in my tracks. There, in the middle of Aisle 16, between men’s shoes and kids’ underwear, my son gave me a wake-up call.
“Mom… you have to FOCUS! Remember the important things!” There I was; comparing a clearance priced generic bath bubbles’ set with the full priced name-brand one, when I realized that we barely even use bubbles in the bath! My son’s comment snapped me out of my crazed consumerism moment, catching me off-guard with its simple truth.
A mental epiphany followed the amazing revelation that just as my Target trips usually lack focus and often deviate from their initial purpose, so does much of my own scatter-brained race through the aisles of life. Suddenly, it dawned on me that when a spill happens in Aisle 33, it’s a lot harder to get there in good time when you’re still stuck in Aisle 4.
In that moment, I found myself wondering whether or not having a life that compared to Target in its messiness and hodge-podge aisles was really a good thing. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on just one specialty, like a handbag boutique that only sells really pricey, high quality bags instead of cramming all sorts of knick-knacks under one roof?
Within seconds, the answer to my mental question was abruptly delivered by my nine-year old. “Mom, look! Here’s the poster-paper I need for my science project.” The comment was quickly followed by my two year old jumping up and down with a bag of crackers shouting “Goal-fish! Goal-fish! I love Goal-fish!”
I glanced at my over-flowing cart, threw in the poster paper and the Goldfish crackers and whispered a fervent “Thank you” to God and to Target for saving me from having to make another stop.
So, even if you lose your focus or change your purpose while meandering through the aisles of life, I’ve come to conclude that it’s better to be gifted with the fullness of choices than to be limited by only one specific product. As nice as that Prada bag might be, I’d much rather pick up some crackers, some poster paper, and a useless back scratcher all in one shot.
We left Target that pivotal day without the bubble bath but with a shared feeling of contentment… even though we forgot to pick up the item we’d initially gone in for. I guess tomorrow could always be another Target day. J