When I’m out and about passing by strangers
throughout my busy day,
I often think of the song – One of Us, by Joan Osborne.
Have you ever heard it?
It is about the possibility that God is showing himself
to the world through ordinary people,
challenging us to own up to our treatment of each other.
Would we approach a stranger differently
if we knew he or she was God?
Here are some of the lyrics:
If God had a face, what would it look like?
And would you want to see?
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus
and the saints and all the prophets?
Each day, when we leave our homes,
our focus is usually so intense that the thought
of any sort of spiritual interaction
never even enters the equation.
But over the years I have learned that
it is during these intense days
when God is with me and I become witness
to his divine grace through some
extraordinary act of kindness.
That is exactly what happened to me yesterday.
It began as a day with purpose.
I had 12 stops to make and I needed to be
organized. So with my detailed list in hand
I was on a mission.
Down the busy highway, through intersections,
in and out of parking lots,
I was focused and determined.
Next on my list – items for my Care Bags project.
I needed to make 15 bags next week
and my inventory of personal toiletry items
was running very low.
Into the store I went. The layout was very
familiar to me and within minutes
I had collected over 60 items.
Approaching the check out, I noticed a woman
unloading her very full buggy with what looked like
the makings of a huge children’s party.
I could see that she was getting worried
that her large order was holding up the line,
but with only me behind her, I told her not to worry.
With some friendly chitchat, I learned
that she was the Den Leader for a Girl Scout troop
and her purchase was for their end of year
picnic and awards ceremony.
She was expecting over 150 people.
I commended her efforts and expressed how lucky
that troop was to have such a dedicated leader.
At this point there were 4 other women in line behind me;
all of them carrying only a couple items in their arms.
Oh boy. I still hadn’t begun my purchase.
As I looked back, I apologized to them
and expressed my intentions of going as quickly as I could
when one of them questioned my odd quantity of items.
As I started loading up the conveyer belt,
I mentioned that the 20 deodorants were not for me
and that this was in fact a donation for my charity.
While trying to relieve some of the tension
with a little humor, I unwittingly peaked their interest
and they began asking questions.
As I briefly told them about the circumstances
and needs of these young girls,
I could see the look on their faces change.
One woman commended me, telling me that she
was a child of drug addicts and would have loved
a bag like this when she was younger.
Another woman shared with me her
son’s own history with drugs and yet another
wanted my phone number so she could send a donation.
Before I realized it, the Den Mother was finished,
turned and handed her email address to me.
Her Girl Scout troop is always looking
for volunteer projects and she wanted
to talk to me about a time when they could help.
Before I even realized it, my order was bagged
and the cashier announced my total of $62.10.
While I was pulling out my payment,
the lady behind me laid down
three twenty-dollar bills and some change.
I gasped. What is she doing? My mind was spinning.
How do I respond to this? I thanked her profusely
before the words became caught in my throat.
A tear ran down my face as I looked into her eyes.
There was God; standing there,
looking at me through the soft brown eyes
of a lovely middle aged woman. ✞
She told me how blessed her life was
and that paying it forward was something
she most definitely wanted to do.
We exchanged a big hug and I thanked her again.
When I was finally sitting in my car,
I was overcome with emotion.
That song “One of Us” came to me again.
What started out as a group of tired strangers,
evolved into the merging of compassionate and caring ladies -
having more in common than they initially realized.
Was God there? He most certainly was!
So to Barb, I would like to say:
Your generosity today was totally unexpected
and supplied enough products for me to fill fifteen bags.
The girls and I THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
You represent what is truly good and holy in mankind.
I believe that God was definitely present today, Barb,
and he was showing his divine grace through you.
How lucky I was to be standing there in his/your presence.
I hope and pray, that if you ever need anything,
someone steps up and pays it forward to you.
May God continue to bless you, Barb.
Thank you! ♡