I sat in my car in the parking lot, wondering to myself, What am I even doing here? Who else waits like this for Target to open on a Sunday morning? I had it in my head that it would be good to stop here on my way home from the airport, so here I was, at 7:45am, 15 minutes early, with nothing to do but sit and wait. I should've just driven home. But instead I waited. I parked facing the sunrise, watching the clouds, allowing their varied textures to soften me and redirect my thoughts. Perhaps even this Target parking lot could be a thin place.
Not more than a few minutes had passed when she pulled up to a parking spot in front of me, seemingly rushed. She kicked open the door, her gray sweatpants and socks with Tevas appearing first from the car. A plastic bag of bread trailed behind her in her hand as she hopped out of the car, her brown curls bouncing with her hurried energy. She took a few steps, unwound the bag and flung pieces of bread into the air and across a few parking spaces. She stuffed her hand in the bag and grabbed several more slices, broke them in her fist, and threw them around her, before upending the bag at last and shaking out the remaining crumbs. She pulled out another bag from the car, this one yellow, and she scattered more bread, broken pieces flying all over.
I glanced behind me across the parking lot to see several crows responding to her bread-call. She met their gaze, turned, and got back in her car. She pulled a sharp u-turn, paused a few spaces over, and waved at the feasting birds through her open window. She watched them for only a moment, then rolled up her window, and sat there for a few minutes while I took notes - the sandals, the bread bags, the waving. Curious about what she'd do next, I kept her car, a maroon SUV, in view from the corner of my eye as I glanced down at my notes. But when I raised my head to check the model of her car, she was gone. Nowhere in sight. Not in the parking lot, not at the stop sign, not on the road already, visible between bushes surrounding the lot. Did she have enough time to drive away while I wrote? Is it possible I missed her leave? How could I have missed it? She was only 50 feet away from me. I leaned forward over the steering wheel, craning my neck to be sure I had covered all potential exits. Surprised and bewildered, I settled back into my seat and watched the remaining crows gobble fragments of bread. They eventually ate their fill and hopped or flew away, one by one.
Look at the birds of the air, I thought. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
Today I can see quite plainly: they are fed. In whatever strange way it came, there is food, and more than they can eat. When I drove away, uneaten bread remained in the parking spaces.
Are you not much more valuable than they?