It all started with a batman lunchbox. A very cute, tin, batman lunchbox, which Boston was determined to acquire. Much to his dismay I told him that we would not be purchasing the lunch box.
Instantly my beautiful sweet three year old boy transformed, threw himself on the floor and began screaming. It was a doosie of a meltdown let me tell you. There was no way anyone in Target could have missed it, for that matter it is quite possible that everyone in town heard it.
And here in Target is where I received my gift. As I walked through Target with a child who by all accounts appeared possessed, I passed another mother with a young child who was smiling and content. She smiled at me and said she was just starting her shopping, but that she would soon be joining me with a child melting down as well.
I checked out. I pushed my cart out in the parking lot, yes Boston is still screaming. Another mother caught my eye. She smiled, and she said, "I understand."
These women may have no idea how significant their words and smiles were to me. But, they took what could have been an incredibly stressful, embarrassing situation and helped make it bearable. Their gift to me was priceless.
As I began driving for home with a howling three year old in the back of the mama van I continued to steep in the beauty of the gift these strangers had given to me. Then it hit me. How often throughout my day am I presented with opportunities to be the gift giver? Do I take seize or squander these moments.
It was then that I realized I had underestimated the power of these small acts of blessing. That too often I have carelessly breezed by these opportunities to sprinkle blessing with out a second thought.
This realization forced me to ask myself "why?" Why do I waste these moments that are pregnant with possibility. Why would I pass up the opportunity to give the gifts of peace, of grace, of joy, of love to the people that I encounter. Several reasons came to mind.
- I get too busy and preoccupied with my own "stuff"
- I get nervous or embarrassed
The reality is that it doesn't matter what the other person thinks about me. Maybe she will think that I am a total loser for talking to her, But maybe she won't. Maybe, she needs to hear that it's okay, that she is not alone, that someone cares.
- I believe the lie that it doesn't matter
When leaving school for the day, it takes just a fraction of a minute to sincerely thank my child's teacher for the incredibly hard work that she does.
It only takes me being brave enough to break the awkward silence to ask the cashier how her day is going.
These are not earth shattering encounters, but they are powerful none the less. Our days are full of these brief encounters. Opportunities to make someones day just a little bit easier. These moments do matter.
When I choose to slow down, put myself aside, and believe that these moments are significant I realize that these windows of opportunity allow others to have a glimpse of the Jesus who loves them more than anything. How could I not want to be a part of that?