Depending on which part of the world you live in, they’re either thrift stores or charity shops, and I have to confess I’m a big fan.
With an hour to fill before I could start work the other day, I set out to visit the Goodwill store in Menlo Park, a town a little north of Palo Alto, where Stanford University sits.
It was a drizzly morning, but that didn’t put me off, so I parked the car near where I thought the store was, and walked purposefully along the street.
There was no sign of it.
I was certain it was on that section of the street.
So, having reached the end of the shopping area, I turned around and walked back, getting to the opposite end of the shops.
Now this was getting odd, and I suspected the shop must have closed down.
I pulled out my phone and Google came to the rescue, telling me not only that it was just two blocks away, but also that it was open.
Half-thinking that Google must have got it wrong, I retraced my steps and there it was.
I’d walked right past it twice.
And just as Google had said it was indeed open.
It’s easy to do that, though, isn’t it?
(He said, hopefully.)
Sometimes we miss things that are right in front of us, and I don’t just mean physically.
The same can happen mentally.
We search for an answer, but the harder we struggle to come up with it, the more elusive it seems to get.
Google probably isn’t going to be much help when you seek the meaning of life (it tells you it’s 42, for goodness sake) but other people can often help you see things that may otherwise have been invisible to you.
Often, all you need to do is ask.
The first person you speak to may not have the answer, of course, nor might any of the others, for that matter.
But each of them is likely to help you gradually form a fuller picture, and that’s got to be better than continually missing the place you want to get to.