It was a warm, lazy Sunday and the late afternoon nap we were slowly coming out of was an extraordinary treat for us. Dragging ourselves out of bed was painful but not as painful as the week would be with two teenage boys and an empty refrigerator.
"What time does Costco close?" asked David, still groggy and a little bit grumpy that real life could so quickly erase the bliss of his slumber.
"8:30 I think," I responded with a fuzzy brain that wasn't really even sure what day of the week it was. "Ok, lots of time. Let's head out soon," said David trying to talk himself into action.
Within half an hour we jumped in the car and began the 20-minute drive from home to the megastore. Pulling into Costco's driveway, everything seemed usual. The lot was pretty full and shoppers were streaming in and out of the warehouse with wagons and flatbeds. I pulled my Costco card out of my wallet and flashed it at the greeter at the door. She smiled, nodded to acknowledge my membership, and then plainly said, "The store closes in 15 minutes."
My mind slowly processed these six very simple words as if they represented the brain-twister of the century. "What? I must be hearing things," I thought. I whipped open my cell phone which declared it to be 5:45 p.m. "Oh no. I was wrong the store closes at 6!" I groaned to my own self.
Immediate regret set in over the long nap we took that afternoon which resulted in the frantic situation we suddenly found ourselves in. I was sure there was no way we could get all our shopping done in 15 minutes. Costco shopping takes at least one hour -- sometimes two! How would we get all of it done? Our shopping list was so long, and it is such a BIG store. We needed to get our act together fast, split the list and stay focused. Rather than turn around in defeat and walk back to the car, we decided to be on a mission.
We dashed through the store like never before, denying the urge to window shop favorite aisles. On that day, there was no browsing the DVD selections, no ogling the new, shiny appliances and no slow cruises through the automotive section.
We needed hamburger, roasted chicken, steak, bread, eggs, fruit, frozen lasagna and other essentials. "Stay focused," we told ourselves. There would be no time to circle back for missed items on a long-passed aisle, so my eyes darted back to the shopping list every few minutes. Stewed tomatoes, juice, water, Gatorade, shampoo, toothpaste; the list went on and on.
With just a few aisles to go, the lights suddenly dimmed. A quick glance at the list revealed that each item was checked off. Mission accomplished, we declared. With everything in the cart, we were safely in the checkout line. As we pushed our overflowing cart to the car, I thought, "It's amazing that we were in and out of that store in 15 minutes and all it took was a deadline to motivate us into such efficiency!"
Later that evening, I sat on my couch watching a well-schooled minister describe Biblical "End Time" signs that have already come to pass, such as the establishment of Israel as a modern nation, the energy crisis and the European Union -- to name just a few. He further described signs unfolding before us today in the volatile Middle East.
"We are living in the Last Days," declared the minister. "The second coming of Christ could happen within the next few years, the next few months or tomorrow," he said. And then it hit me, like the proverbial ton of bricks, it actually could happen in the next 15 minutes.
Immediate regret set in over my years of evangelistic laziness and the frantic situation I suddenly found myself in. With so many friends, family and neighbors to reach, 15 minutes was not enough time. We need to get our act together, split the list and stay focused. We must be on a mission. The alternative is simply unbearable.
Sherrie is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, a mother and a freelance writer. She resides with her family on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where she was born and raised.