I met Jesus today. More than once.
I had an hour or so to kill so I decided to pick up items for school tomorrow. Paper, pencils, notebooks… you name it. Being close to my new downtown home I ventured into the 8th street Wal-Mart.
It was insanely busy.
As I walked toward the doors to enter in about twelve Wal-Mart employees were sitting on the ground in a circle. Each of them looked homely, sad, dirty but ultimately…forgotten. I stared into these faces for awhile as I made my way inside. I excused myself as I ran into a little boy, about Cohen’s age who had snot on his lips and a single mom yelled at him to stay closer to her.
Oh Lord, I just wanted to get some office supplies.
I ignored the long lines and hoped by the time I wanted to leave there would be an open lane so I wouldn’t have to wait. I was impatient. Why is everybody out today? It’s not like this at the Monument Wal-Mart where I have gone for years!
Oh Lord, you are teaching me a lesson.
I felt stares in the back of my head as I decided either the yellow or blue folder. An elderly woman was looking at the tape and stopped to stare at me awhile.
I kept thinking…I agree lady, what the heck am I doing at THIS Wal-Mart?
She had oversized glasses on and smelled like a nursing home. She was overweight and walked with a limp …. I watched her as I decided on the yellow folder. She had no help with her. No one holding her hand as she limped along in the aisle or anyone to carry her oxygen tank.
What if this was your grandma Mackenzie?
Ah yes, and then you speak Lord.
As she walked away I asked her if there was anything I could help her find or anything she needed help with.
She stared at me and had to think about her words… I can’t reach the masking tape, could you grab it for me? I was going to find a clerk … she mumbled and then half smiled at me with no teeth.
I’ll be happy to grab that for you. I handed her the masking tape and gave her a big smile. She told me that her husband had just passed away and that she needed to pack many of his items. It truthfully broke my heart. She began to limp away… I told her to have a blessed day. She walked back to me and she shook my hand.
Ok Lord… I’m listening.
I gathered all my items and headed to the checkout line. The only one without a huge line was a mother with two kids. I knew it was where I needed to be. I stood behind her quietly. Her children were in one cart and she had an entire grocery cart full in the other. Her little boy looked to be about five and her little girl maybe one. He scanned item after item and she counted her money… all in ones. She was dropping coupons, money, keys… you name it. I believe I bent over three times to help her pick up something. She was frazzled, out of it and kept eyeing the world around her as if she knew she was being judged.
No wedding ring. Stripper boots. Skinny as a rail. She was so lost and so broken. It reeked from the inside out.
The total came to almost a hundred dollars… she counted out her huge stack of ones and fives, she was three dollars short. She rolled her eyes and told the man to put back the milk…
I already knew what I needed to do.
I told her, I’ll spot you, no worries. She looked at me suspiciously and told me that she didn’t need pity and that she just forgot the rest of her cash at home.
Ok God, Not exactly my ideal outcome in this situation.
She looked at me dead in the eyes and said …If you knew what it was like to be a single mom you would understand that I don’t need your charity because you feel bad for me. Forget about it, it’s fine!
I was shocked, hurt and then proceeded to say that at one point I WAS a single mom and that I understand the pain of judgment and others trying to take pity on me. I told her that all I wanted to do is pay for her milk for her kids. That’s it.
She paused for awhile…then nodded her head.
I handed the cashier, whose face had turned bright red, a five. She nodded her head again as he handed her the receipt and I told her that God sees her. She nodded and left. Just like that.
I paid for my items and left the store that was full of neglected elderly, single mothers, poor families and distraught hearts. I prayed for her…and her kids. That she would see Jesus in what had happened… not religion…church…pity…chari
I got in my car…This was no Monument Wal-Mart. This is real life. This is real pain.
The Lord spoke to me on my drive home...
Mackenzie I bless you to bless others... I love you to love others... those words played over and over in my head...still do.
I often wonder if we cared about our neighbors like we do for those in Haiti how much we could change the face of America?
What about the lives of the widows and orphans at the 8th street Wal Mart.
A lot to think about and be grateful for.
Lord give me the strength to obey your heart’s desire…everytime.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.