The Person Nearest You

It was Friday and, in my world, that means grocery day. Come sleet, rain or shine, the pantry needs a fillin’. On this particular Friday, it was sleeting. I stared out of the kitchen window listening to the ice bounce off of the deck. There was no getting out of it. I had eeked my way through breakfast with some cinnamon/sugar toast, but there was no way I could serve up anything resembling a lunch.

I made my way to Aldi, put my quarter in the slot for a buggy and made my way around the crowded aisles.

Pop tarts? Check.

Two gallons of milk. Check.

An hour and a half later, I emerged from the store just a tad grumpy. The lines had been long, the people less than friendly {myself included} and I was about to head back out into the freezing cold. I loaded the bags into my car, returned the buggy to its spot and was back inside the warmth of my vehicle.

Then, I saw her.

rainy day

I knew exactly what she was doing. Standing in front of the row of buggies and digging inside her purse. She was looking for a quarter.

She was hunched over. The wind was blowing. The sleet was falling. But, inside my van, the hot air was blowing and my hands were beginning to thaw. I waited. Please, lady, just find a stinkin’ quarter already. Another dive into the purse. Another shake of her head.

As I watched her, I couldn’t get this quote out of my head.

mother theresa

Help one person at a time.

Start with the person nearest you. I looked around. Maybe someone else was nearer to her? {Awful, right?} But, alas, all of the vehicles around me were empty.

God isn’t looking for us to do big things, but to do little things with big love. So, I shut off the engine and grabbed my “Aldi quarter” out of its reserved spot in my van’s console. I hurried across the parking lot, rested my hand on her shoulder and asked, “Do you need a quarter?”

For a moment, my ever present insecurity was certain she would look at me like I was crazy and say, “No. I’m just waiting on my husband to bring the car up.” or something of the like. But, no. Her face broke out into a crazy big smile and she tried to hand me her handful of nickels that she had managed to find in the bottom of her purse. I waved them off, rubbed her back {when did I become so touchy feely?} and told her to have a great day.

I ran back across the parking lot with the sleet still falling and a goofy smile on my face. What a gift I would have missed out on if I had stayed in the warmth and comfort of my van.

I think God must like teaching me things on grocery day.

Look around. Who is the person nearest you?

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