Nine little words...months ago. This story is still unfolding and has a few updates. Therefore, in the interest of time as I continue to edit and honor this woman's privacy, I will leave her name out and have to post this long chapter of Nine Little Words in parts.
Won't you walk with me and feel my experience? Feel her. Pray for her.
I had a few things to get as the Christmas season was winding down. Trust me, it was nothing fancy and it had nothing to do with butter or cookies or Christmas at all. It’s just that during the mad retail rush of the season, you can’t seem to get anywhere or get anything without waiting in a line. I was determined to not get pulled in by the strong under toe current of shoppers. So I had my list: shampoo and wash for the kids, tights for the princess, pull ups, toothpaste, toilet paper, hair color for me and razors for my husband. Excellent! It was just supposed to be a quick errand and nine little words were not even on my radar.
Then, I met her.
I’ve told you before that I have no problem being courteous and using the name of whomever I am dealing with. I didn’t realize until this day, this Christmas season, on this quick errand, how important it would become...to care.
Everything was just fine until I handed her a coupon that would not work. The sale simply would not ring up, no matter how hard she tried. I could sense her frantic frustration as she tried to find someone to help. Her line grew longer and all the while, I assured her I was fine in having to wait. Not knowing if she was seasonal help, I asked her name and then assured her she was doing a good job and not to worry.
When help finally arrived, it became clear to me that I was not the only customer having a problem with that store coupon, that day, in that line, on that computer with this beautiful woman whose name I cannot tell you. I’m not sure if it was the busyness of the season, but the “help” didn’t seem like help at all. Some quick override function with a key took place and then an over the shoulder glance that said, “it’s ok” which was more belittling than encouraging, as the “help” immediately walked away.
Wow. That wasn't very nice.
She seemed more frustrated than ever as I swiped my card. I tried to make one more desperate attempt at telling her the day would go better but this time I added one more thing. I reached out and touched her.
-“Don’t worry. You’re doing fine and it’s going to be okay.”
Her eyes told me the truth. She didn’t believe it was going to be okay and it was not because of that stupid coupon I was now wishing I had never used.
-“It’s just that it’s almost Christmas and I’m here. I don’t want to be here but I have to be. I don’t know what to do!”
I knew what she was saying. I knew what she meant by the way she said it and she began to shake. It wasn’t Christmas yet but it was coming and she felt she had to be there…working and doing, doing, doing.
This time I put my stuff down, reached around, and with both of my hands tightly grasping hers I told her I would pray for her day to go smoothly and for her not to worry anymore. That is when she began to sob.
There was something about her quiet sob that shut every other noise out. Now, at this very moment, I knew I had to ask even though it seemed so very petty. I held her hands and they began to tremble as I said the words I had no intention of asking:
-“How can I ask God to bless you today?”
No answer. Just tears. Tears streaming down her face.
-“Please tell me. I am going to pray for you.”
Still no answer, but it was obvious that work pressure and Christmas approaching was taking its toll. I took a deep breath and ran my hands over hers. I know I said something to her but I didn't hear the words I was saying and I honestly don't think anyone heard them except her. I feel that may have been what God intended because He was needing to remind me of something very important. People aren't made from a cookie cutter and we are not to have cookie cutter responses.
I do know my words meant something to her because she closed her eyes and sighed a big “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” The tears stopped and were replaced with a peaceful smile.
I left with my heart completely torn to pieces for her and I haven’t stopped thinking about her since that day. I’ve looked for her time and time again but I never find her. Regardless, I remember that day and what I needed to be reminded of...each person being uniquely made and uniquely loved by God.
And He was preparing my heart to show me Himself in a way I could have never predicted.
I promise. Part II is waiting to be told.