I had almost missed her.
The oops-I-dropped-my-keys-hope-my-pants-stay-up-left-my-purse-in-the-cart crazy me. The boy-I-need-to-refocus-look-at-the-clock-to-see-the-time-sheesh-it’s-almost-pick-up hot mess me. The do-I-look-over-at-the-lady-waving-in-the-car-next-to-me-because-I-really-don’t-want-to-slow-down selfish me.
We all almost missed her.
But something in my heart said to roll the window down, offer a smile and say, Do you need something?
And then I saw her.
Big brown eyes, holding tight to her phone, sitting in her hot car, swallowing hard before she said, I am so sorry but do you have a few dollars to help me get some gas? I called my boy and he won’t answer. I am just so embarrassed I even have to ask but do you think maybe? Maybe you could help me?
There was something in her voice that I recognized, something that drew me away from the clock and toward her, something I knew…
It was the fear of being lost.
So I said, I don’t have any cash but if you follow me to the gas station across the street we can get you on your way!
Yep, just follow me, my dear!
And off we went. Two disabled ladies. One with slightly wiser hair.
It was not until I went to pump her gas that I realized why my heart had given me pause to stay.
The why came as my new friend started to get out of the car. I saw her sweet little house shoes and her swollen hands so I stopped her with a wink, You stay, I am happy to be your attendant today! Her eyes misted a little as she sat back down and shut the door.
She swallowed hard just as before and then answered, Thank you so much for being kind. You weren’t the first person I asked. Or the second. Or the third. And my son, he just wasn’t picking up the phone. We talk every day. I just don’t know why he didn’t pick up the phone. Just thank you so much…
And then it occurred to me, this sweet girl was me.
A little lost. A little confused. A little older.
But she was me and Mimi and every sweet soul who has ever had a moment where life didn’t make sense and someone, even a stranger, had to make sense of it for us.
So I fought back a few tears of my own and said, Well, sister, I have been given extraordinary kindness by some extraordinary people. And today? Today is my day to pay it forward. Thank you for giving me the chance to love on you.
But I had almost missed her, you see.
Because the purse was in the cart and the clock was counting down and the lady waving at me might just think I didn’t see her if I turn my head this way. But. Then. My heart reminded me of something I forget entirely too often.
Time and kindness do not scare one another. Kindness jumps in and makes the clock wait. Because it knows something marvelous is waiting on the other side.
A human being in need of love.