We had errands to run today, pretty typical for a Sunday afternoon in family that is constantly on the move.
For those unaware, I have a daily struggle with social anxiety and anxiety in general. Those of you that share in my battle know why it’s so important to stay away from crowds, however something compelled me to pull into Wal-Mart this morning for some of the things needed today… something that I would normally do my best to avoid at all costs.
As we pulled in, I saw a woman who looked to be in her early-40′s holding sign that read “family of 2 in need. No work, no food…” I thought for a moment that I had just found out why it was my destiny to go to Wal-Mart today: to help this family in their time of need. Little did I know that our purpose there was much bigger.
We gathered our items, wheeled our cart through the store, and landed at checkout register number 14 with “Linda.” She had a pretty neutral demeanor as she rang up our items, offering up casual small talk.
Laura, having her wallet out before me, pulled out her debit card and slid it through the card reader, asking whether or not we need cash back.
“No we don’t… oh wait, yes, we do,” I replied.
The cashier opened her drawer and pulled out a $20 bill before I had the chance to ask that the cash be broken into smaller bills. Linda seemed a bit annoyed by my request, so in an effort to help excuse my need to inconvenience her, I explained “we saw a woman in need at the entrance of the store. I’m getting this cash back to give to her and smaller bills will make it easier.”
Linda scoffed as she said “do you really believe her? She’s probably going to buy drugs.”
My heart was broken in this moment, but I offered an alternative state of mind for our new friend:
“Linda, I’ve got to be honest with you: I’m just as jacked up as the next person. I’m the last person here that is qualified to judge others. My job isn’t to look at someone and make assumptions about who they are or where they’ve been, my job is to meet the needs of others. We’re put on this earth to grow, to love, to help those in need.”
Linda stopped what she was doing as she reflected on what I had just said.
“I can’t, in good conscience, turn my back on someone in need… regardless of what they may or may not do with my help.”
Linda began to tear up as she said “you know, you’re right. I’m sorry. I never really thought like that, but I will from now on.”
We finished picking up our bags and as we began to walk away, Linda lifted her head and softly spoke these simple words: “thank you.”
It was in this moment that we understood the REAL reason we were there today. If we weren’t there to give the woman in need some money, someone else would have been… but Linda may have never had life-change in her own heart.
I don’t tell this story to be patted on the back, or to make us look good. I tell this story as a reminder that while we strive to see the beauty in the world and to choose love in each situation we find ourselves in, others need to be reminded that true love still exists in this world and sometimes that love just needs to be “lived out” for others to see.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Choose love, friends… today and everyday!
Peace, snugs, and MEGA love,