Tuesday, January 7, 2014

There are Certain Things...Part 1

Which put life into perspective.

Such things make you think really hard about reality and how you put into practice the faith of Christ.

In a Matter of Moments

Just before leaving for a period of vacation and recuperation after Christmas, my wife and I took our kids shopping.  The money they received for Christmas was burning a hole in their pockets, and they wanted certain items.  Rather than fight the battle to wait, we had time, so we used it.

We stopped at Wal-Mart in Katy and after the kids found their hearts' desires, we headed to the checkout line.  As we were waiting to place our items on the conveyor belt, I overheard a mother talking to her daughter right behind me.  The girl wanted an item on the end cap and was pleading with her mother to get it.

Apparently, the mom wanted to purchase the item for the girl but was unable to, "What part of 'I don't get paid until Friday' don't you understand?"

The comment was rather heart wrenching to me.  I'm blessed enough not to "have to wait until Friday" to purchase special things for my kids.  I work.  My wife works.  Revenues are more than expenses most months.  Not everyone is as lucky.

I reached into my wallet at this point, took out a $20 bill and handed it to the woman.  "Get it for her and Merry Christmas."

The woman stared at me with a look of utter disbelief.  I mean, she was literally in shock.  "Are you serious?  Thank you."

"You are welcome."

It was then quite priceless to hear the woman try to explain to her daughter just why she could now have this item.  "Thank you," the little girl then said.

"You are welcome."

Even more priceless as we walked out of the store.  My eldest turned to me and said, "Daddy, that was really nice of you."

"Yes, dear, I know."

Moments later, as we approached our car, a young woman looked directly at me, "Maybe you can help me."

"What do you need?"  I asked.

"I'm trying to get back to San Antonio.  I'm almost out of gas.  I have no money.  Someone gave me this gift card, and it has $3 on it.  I'm pregnant, and I can't wait here all day until someone comes to get me.  People are being rude to me, and I just need help."

Another $20.

"Thank you so much.  This will get me all the way home!  Thank you.  I've never had to do this before."

"You are welcome."

"May you have a blessed New Year!"

"You too."

My eldest: "Daddy, you're just giving money away!"

Me: "Yes, dear.  I am.  We are blessed.  Not everyone is as fortunate.  Whenever we get the opportunity to help, we should."

I needed to get gas for our vehicle as well, so I pulled over to the Wal-Mart gas station.  The young lady was there with her brother, and they had just finished filling up her car.  She saw me once again and filled in some of the blanks.

"I've never had to ask before.  I asked one guy, and he said, 'Get an effing job!'  I thought, 'I have a job.  I'm just out of cash.'  I couldn't believe how rude he was.  I can't believe how mean people can be."

I replied, "There's still some good ones out there.  Have a safe trip.  Is this your first child?"

Beaming, she said, "Yes!"

Small chit chat for just a few moments before she headed for home.

Unbelievable that someone could respond callously to another without getting to know that person's situation.  Unbelievable, but reality. 

In a matter of moments, I was out $40.  But it was a very small price to pay.  A small price to shock a working poor mother with kindness; make a young girl jump for joy; reverse an expectant mother's view of humanity; and, perhaps most importantly, show another young girl the importance of giving.  Maybe my other two children were watching as well--even though they said nothing.

Lead by example.  Others are watching.  Realizing this puts things into perspective.  All it takes is a matter of moments.

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