Menu of Meditations

The Empty Checkout Counter

On Feb. 25, 2000 I went to WalMart to buy some stain for my granddaughters to use in finishing their sorority pledge paddles. It was about six p.m. but the store was moderately busy, and the half dozen operating checkout counters had lines in front of them. While I was there I decided to get a couple of gallons of bottled water. I didn't want to use a cart for such a small purchase, but discovered that the hand-baskets were all in circulation. So I headed to the paint section and bought a small can of stain and two brushes. Then I went to the water department and picked up two gallon jugs.

As I walked toward the front of the store, I thought to myself, "I don't want to stand in line carrying all this stuff in my hands." The water was getting heavier as I walked. So I decided, "I will visualize an open checkout where I don't have to wait at all. I know I am going to find an empty checkout."

I walked up to the row of checkouts counters, and saw that the one nearest me only had one person waiting. I thought that this would be good enough But then I spotted the checkout forward of that one, toward the front of the store, and it was completely empty. I had wavered in my faith! I walked up to the checker, smiled, and thanked her for waiting for me.

As I was being checked out, a woman came up from behind me, highly amused, and said, "I suppose it was just a coincidence that this counter was empty when you arrived." It was a member of one of my spiritual growth classes, where we were studying the mystery of coincidence. I laughed, and told her the story, that I had visualized a checkout completely void of customers.

"You remember," I reminded her, "we create our own reality." I told her I was glad I had a witness, because I might ask her to retell this incident in class some time.

"Why doesn't it work for me?" she moaned. I wondered the same thing, because it doesn't always work for me either. Was it "coincidence," visualization, or the result of some divine law we haven't even discovered yet?

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2003