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You don't know how lucky you are...

I read a blog today about how one individual, one family, was choosing to impact their local community that was full of need.  They were sensitive to God's leading and decided that every time they bought groceries, they would buy an extra bag for someone impoverished in the area.

While I realize that the widowed and the poor are "always with us" it's one of those things that can easily slip our minds when you don't live in a severely oppressed area.  Sure, I may see someone holding up a cardboard sign if I'm on the highway, headed through a big city... but in my rural community, I don't see the poor and the lost and the lonely occupying park benches.

After my much needed nap today (so thankful for the fact that toddlers are designed to recharge their batteries on a regular basis), I got up and my husband had some things he needed to take to the Post Office.  He told me that if I wanted an outing, I could go ship them for him and then he sweetened the deal, tempting me with a buzz through McDonald's for something cool and indulgent.  I told him he had me at, "Iced coffee" (even though once there, I opted for a smoothie) and quickly grabbed my keys and the packages and headed out.

The sun burned warmth into my skin and I rolled the window down while simultaneously blasting the A/C.  (I'm pregnant.  The things I do don't have to make sense.)  I turned up the volume on the satellite  Christian station and filled up my lungs with fresh air and truth, cruising in my minivan, feeling high on life and high on possibility and high on the fact that I belong to God and nothing can ever, ever change that.

"We are the light of the world.
We are the city on the hill.
We are the light...
We are the light..."
~  K a r i   J o b e 

I somehow managed to wrestle those two awkwardly large boxes with my blessedly large belly, locked the van and got through the front doors of the Post Office without any assistance whatsoever.  The line was short and the packages were, thankfully, no heavier than my two year old that I'm very accustomed to hoisting and hauling.  I felt smiley and bright.  Like a sunbeam.

I had decided something I could do for someone else.

I couldn't wait to mail the packages and be on my way.  I was on a mission!  I felt light and free.  I gleefully headed to McDonald's, glancing in my rearview mirror, wondering who would pull in behind me.  I had figured that the one thing I could do on this sunshiny, three-o-clock afternoon was buy some McD's for whomever pulled in behind me.  It was the least I could do, but maybe it would make a stranger smile or ease some tension or put a bounce in their step?  I didn't know.  I just knew I was going to do it.

I ordered my smoothie and a strawberry milkshake for my husband (cause I'm good like that!) and pulled up to the first window to pay.  Glancing behind, I noticed the minivan behind my minivan and smiled.  The driver was at the ordering screen for awhile and that made me happy... I was hoping to give someone more than a large sweet tea, although if that's all they needed, I guess I'd be happy to oblige.  

So, I pay for my afternoon sugar rush and told the cashier that I wanted to pay for the vehicle behind me as well.  She looked semi-confused and said she had to get a manager.  I felt that momentary panic and that gut instinct to retreat.  Here I was trying to do a random act of kindness and I was causing all this stress and extra work and the person behind me was probably getting annoyed and wondering why I was taking so long.  But, I didn't want to give up and so I apologized for the hassle (which turned out to not be a big hassle) and I was on my way.  

Just after pulling away from the second window, I heard a vehicle's honking horn.  I was startled by that just one blast.  I assumed it was from the van I had just treated, but I felt a little nervous.  Was that a "thank you!" honk or a "what did you just do, you crazy person?!" honk?  Either way, I sped out of there,... but smiled all the way home.  

At a stop light, I reached for the receipt and was excited to see more than one item.  It made me smile as I saw the large Coke... and the two small waters and the two orders of chicken nuggets and fries.  It almost made me burst into tears.  I had just helped another Mom!  And okay, maybe picking up her nearly $10 McDonald's bill didn't change her life, but maybe it did help her relax a little into her afternoon.  Maybe it helped her enjoy her kids clamoring for their fries and ketchup packets easier to handle.  I don't know. But I did what I could, where I could, with what I had.  

All I had was that moment... and I submitted in a super minor way.  And while I don't know how that person or her kids felt after pulling away from the golden arches, I do know how I felt and in our world where we can get so busy and so focused on our calendars and our agendas and routines... it felt refreshing and necessary to consider someone else... And I'm pretty sure I need to have that focus more often than I do.  I feel blessed and challenged.  And excited.  I can't wait to see what the next random thing is I can do for someone else.

Oh yeah.  And by the way?... Now it's your turn.

"And He's given us a treasure 
called right now...
And this is the only moment
we can do anything about..."
~  S t e v e n   C u r  t i s   C h a p m a n 


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