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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Walmart Thought Experiment

by Shawn Tucker (bio)

I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Walmart. One time I made the mistake of wearing tan pants and a dark blue shirt. After the fourth person asked me where something was, I realized that I looked like an employee. I also realized that I know where every darn thing is in that Death Star sized store.

photo via 59gregory59
I have devised a little thought experiment that I like to use in Walmart. For a moment I take seriously the idea that anyone, everyone, could, someday, be a Heavenly Father or Heavenly Mother. I imagine that the person pushing a cart in front of me or trying to find a peach without a bruise or pulling the 25¢ coupon for the Greek yogurt out of a pocket is in one specific moment of her or his eternal journey. I try to imagine what this moment might mean. Could this be that early childhood stage, before the parent's divorce and all of the challenges and growth that that event brought? Is this a quiet, lonely stage, the stage where so many loved ones are gone and the weight of being alone forges part of that person's essential empathy?

Today, I saw a man whose hair was thinning on top. Apparently the hair on the sides of his head had decided to compensate for their lost follicle brothers, and let me tell you they were doing quite the job. It didn't look like clown hair, but it was getting there. So I thought that this man may very well, someday, be a Heavenly Father, and just the thought seemed to endow him with a hint of an eventual divinity. And since I associate laughter (the good, full-hearted, eternity-shaking laughter of love and home) with God, I imagined this man creating a world with rounded trees having full branches on the side and little on top. I imagined him doing this as an homage or a little inside joke about his time on Earth.

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