Monday, April 18, 2011

The Stranger at Walmart

I just thought it would be another day in the Walmart checkout line when the guy behind me noticed a pair of girls' water shoes.

"Well somebody is about to have fun."
"They are for my niece.  My brother was having a hard time finding her these shoes in Japan."
His eyes immediately widened and quickly asked, "Is everybody okay?"

I have to say that I was kind of shocked at his quick response and concern.  I told him that my brother was stationed over there and that they were safe but that he had some members in his Air Force family that were affected by the earthquakes.  He told me to be sure to tell my brother "Thanks for serving" and that he would pray for him and his friends in Japan.  I thanked him for his prayers and went on about my business.

A simple conversation turned into a reminder to me that there are good people in the world.  It was refreshingly comforting when this stranger spoke a few words of encouragement.  In that moment the world stopped for just a second and two hearts & minds focused on others across the ocean.  I thought about the encounter for the rest of the day.  Maybe God put that man in my life to remind me that it's not all about me but about glorifying Him and serving others so that they may see Him in me.  How many times do I just stand in line wishing the checker would go a little faster so I can go about my business?  How many times do I start a conversation with the checker to see how I can brighten their day?  Maybe that scowl on their face or their negative attitude stems from a need in their life.  Maybe God put me in their line to share a word of encouragement to them.

And to think all this started over a conversation about little girls' water shoes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can I get an Amen?

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner.  I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy chocolate with it instead of dinner?" "No, I had to stop eating chocolate years ago", the homeless woman told me.

"Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?" I asked.  "No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked.  "Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless woman. "I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!"

Well, I said, "I'm not going to give you the money.. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight."  The homeless Woman was shocked. "Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting."

I said, "That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and chocolate."