The Shopping Cart



Several years ago, I remember listening to one of my favorite talk shows on the radio and the host shared a story about an experience he had with a shopping cart. He had been sitting in his car, maybe he was waiting on his wife to come out of the store, or he had been talking on his phone. Either way he’d been sitting in his car for several minutes and watched as one person after another attempted to pull one cart apart from another, gave up, and than moved on to a free one.

This really piqued his interest. He wanted to know what was so difficult about this one particular cart that kept people walking away from it, so he got out of the warmth of his car and gave it a try himself. He tugged and he tugged and sure enough, that cart was stuck.

Determined he pulled on the cart again, really using good ol’ elbow grease this time. Still no go. Remember, he had no use for the cart, he just wanted to see what all the fuss was about and now that he was here, he was determined to get the job done. Again he tugged on the handle of the cart, applied even more strength, and this time it pulled free of the other cart.

That story has always stuck with me because he didn’t give up. He didn’t throw in the towel and take the easy way out. Sure, it’s just a shopping cart, but for me, at that time in my life, it symbolized so much more. It was my recovery, my healing, my writing, my journaling, my “me” time, and getting back to the basics while I found myself again.

There were so many times that I wanted to say, “This is just too hard for me. I can’t go on,” but that image of the radio host pulling on shopping carts had a way of reminding me that I could keep on pushing myself just a little bit more. Apply a bit more mental elbow grease and get through this so I won’t be stuck like the carts.

The last few weeks I've turned to that mental image again and again. Things at home have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. While it was wonderful to have my oldest child home for the holidays, we had some unfortunate events occur during that time.

The problem with my youngest child and all they're going through as a result of the choices their birth father continues to make is taking it's toll. Counseling isn't helping yet and it breaks my heart to watch my child continue to be in such pain over something they can't control but desperately wants to.

We were also looking forward to sharing the news with everyone that we were going to be grandparents, instead, the family had to break the news of a miscarriage to our oldest on the day before Christmas Eve instead of surprising them with the of the baby. The silver lining in all of this was that the family grew closer in the last few weeks than I thought ever possible and we can look forward to the couple (my middle child) trying again.Very soon.

I'm grateful to have the shopping cart analogy to turn to when I think times are too tough for me to handle. I can remember to give myself that mental kick in the ass that I need. Now, whenever I find two shopping carts jammed together, I think of that radio host’s story and smile, than I do my best to yank those suckers apart.

Do you leave the shopping carts stuck or do pull them apart? Have you heard a story on the radio that inspired you?