Friday, December 24, 2010

Opportunities to Serve

I will admit, I don't care for the song "Christmas Shoes"... yes, I like the message and the unexpected opportunity the singer was given to see past the commercialism that has become Christmas, but the song itself... not so much.

I feel fortunate to have had similar experiences today: Two unexpected opportunities to serve - in the smallest and simplest of ways, yet apparently meaningful to them, and definitely inspiring to me.

My first opportunity arrived shortly after lunch. I was standing in line to purchase two items. The area where we were standing seemed crowded and chaotic. I was second in line. I noticed an elderly woman carrying a shirt that she had picked up. Her gait was steady, but seemed a bit labored. I wondered if she'd had a stroke previously, and was having to consciously move each step. She appeared to be wanting to cut through to the other side of our line, so as she approached, I stepped back, and gestured her through with my hand.

With that, she paused and looked up for the first time. She looked right at me, like I had given her the greatest gift ever. And she kept looking. Finally, I said "hello...." and nodded. She nodded back, and turned to face the front of the line.

I laughed to myself, then. Thank You, God for giving me the opportunity to serve and be gracious without even having to think about it. Literally, a "God doing for me" moment. Not only was He helping me help someone else, but He was changing my perspective.

From there, we headed to the grocery store. We needed a few things - you know, the obligatory "snow-is-in-the-forecast-bread-and-milk-run". (Actually, it was only milk and dinner!) Down one of the aisles, we were given another opportunity.

We had begun to move our cart around a restocking cart. On the other side was an elderly gentleman in a Marines jacket. He wore two hearing aids and was riding a motorized cart. We backed up, pulled back into our "lane", and allowed him to pass.

Our paths crossed several times as we shopped. The third time, near the dairy section, he laughed as we nodded and said "I can't find what I'm looking for". Typically, I would have smiled, but no, not today. "What are you looking for?" I asked. "Refrigerated pie crusts, I have frozen ones, but I wanted the other," he said, "they used to be over there", and pointed behind him. "Yes, they did...", I replied, as I continued in that direction.

As I walked pasted the cheese, heading toward the refrigerated rolls, I thought to look. There they were. I called to my son. I was going to ask him to bring them to the man on the scooter-cart, but when I looked up for him, I saw the man, riding back to check again. I caught his eye as I held up the box, "these?"

His face lit up, which caused me to smile. "Thank you!" he said.

No, sir.... thank You!

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