This something I wrote years ago and at my mother's request I have decided to share it here with you. I want my blog to be more then just hair, but sometimes slices of our lives. So learn how I saw Jesus in a stranger at Walgreens
Last Sunday, I had to drive up to Chattanooga and wait for my daughter for just a few hours. Whenever I get trapped somewhere and I know I am near a laundry mat I will grab a load of laundry. I love to go to the laundry mat once in a while and just people watch. I love people, and I love to watch them, wondering what their stories are all about. I was driving up to Chattanooga with numbers and my to do list rambling through my head. Prom dresses, birthday parties, karate, bills, the kitchen, dinner, bedroom, and bathrooms. My mind was filled with everything a woman daily has running through their head. I pulled into the Walgreens to pick up laundry detergent. Bills still running through my head, dancing in my thoughts, the things I needed to buy and the makeup counter I needed to avoid. I barely noticed him as I drifted past, maybe he wasn’t there when I walked in the Walgreens.
All those numbers, my huge to do list, and those silly things I wanted kept me from even seeing those people around me. The cashier was amazing she pulled me out of my own thoughts interacted with me and made me see for the first time the people around me. I was going to miss the beauty of the people around me, because I couldn’t stop my mind from twirling and whirling around. I stepped out into the cool air a little more aware of the people around me and then I saw him, the guy who would make my Sunday a day of true blessings. It would remind me of how little things can make or break a person’s faith or belief in other people. I sat in my car watching him smile and greet other people; you could sense him trying to get the courage to ask for help. Maybe he was new to this need, maybe he had grown tired of all of the people saying no or maybe even in his need his pride was to big to ask for help.
I sat looking at my change tin thinking of how it rattles and makes every car ride a bit noisy for my husband. I sat thinking of how it held the quarters for my load of laundry and a few emergency dollars for oops low on gas and no card. I thought how I was pinching pennies and starting to save for this and that. I sat wondering was I right in what I see, was I seeing a man in need of my change. Would his pride be so big that he would be more insulted or was his need so great he would find the change tin to be a bigger gift then my sacrifice of the tin.
I watched as people passed by him not noticing him as he greeted them with a slight smile and hello. He never asked for anything, but his need was so great you could see it in his body and in his eyes. I sat watching not sure what to do. I couldn’t simply just drive away and leave him; his eyes would haunt me in my twirling and whirling thoughts. Standing there as I watched and wondered how to approach this man with my change tin, I could only hear one verse screaming loud in my ear.
Matthew 25:35- For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you care for me, in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him and say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see a stranger and welcome you or naked and cloth you? When did we see you ill or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for the one of those least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
I opened my door to step out and hand him the tin a small almost meaningless gesture, but all I could do at the time. I watched a nicely overdressed lady come out of Walgreens and the stranger greet her. He made no step towards, no gesture, and no request. Maybe she could see the hunger in his eyes and maybe her own hunger of things over whelmed her but in that second I saw what many might see as meanness, but deep beneath the surface I think lived a fear that one wrong step in her high heels and she could find herself hungry and wanting. I watched her turn on him and tell him to get a job and not stand there. He told her, he was looking but it was hard to find a job. She turned on him as she quickened her pace and in front of the whole parking lot she screamed in a most angry, ugly tone, “While I have two jobs.”
His manly pride stripped away in that very second as strangers looked upon his hunger, his need and his pain. Would she later in her whirling and twirling of thoughts wonder if she couldn’t have left him with something? I stopped, would I only add to the humiliation or was his need so great that instead of remembering her bitter angry words he would remember my smile and know that he would be in my prayers. Would he remember the anger or the compassion? I stepped towards him handed him my tin and in that moment I looked into the softest, kindest blue eyes I had ever seen. His laugh lines around his eyes shone bright and if the eyes are truly the window to the soul, then his is a beautiful soul. He said a soft gentle thank you and as I walked away I heard him open the tin and only one word, “WOW.” As I drove away the man in the car next to me an overpriced sports car got out of his car and handed him a few dollars… I wondered would those in the parking lot see his need now. Would they open their eyes and see the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the ill, the prisoned…
Would people start seeing Jesus?
I was truly blessed by this encounter for the rest of the day and whoever you were stranger at Walgreens, you gave more than you were given. What a blessing on my day you turned out to be.