Before I go into my hibernation period for the next week or so, I wanted to share a sweet, sweet story from our Saturday morning class that I can’t seem to shake.
When we were eating lunch together and began asking each other about our gifts and how we can use them to bless others, one of the girls at the table said, “Oh, I was hoping time would run out before you got to me.” A common thought, I’m beginning to think.
Let me preface this story by saying that you should have no fear should you find yourself sitting around my dining room table with six girls looking at you for your answer. We start this beautiful conversation by saying, “Don’t feel that you’re bragging on yourself by saying, ‘I’m good at this!’ Instead, see it as bragging on God. He gave you this passion. He gave you these abilities. Use them! Tell us!”
So back to the conversation. Theresa (her real name!) began by saying, “I don’t really know what my gifts are.” (Insert silence here.) “I’ll just tell you a story about when I was at Target recently.”
She began by telling us that she saw a young girl and her Mom shopping for back-to-school supplies. As the little girl asked, “Mom, can I get these cute folders with the flowers on them? They're only a dollar.” The Mom said, “No. You can get the solid color folders. They’re cheaper.” Seconds later, the little girl again asked, “Mom, if I buy these myself, can I get these highlighters?” Her request was met with, “No, you don’t have any money to buy these. Put them back.”
Well, Theresa watched this little girl and her Mom shopping and it broke her heart. Though she didn’t grow up with a lot of money, buying school supplies was always a fun time as her cart was always filled with colorful folders and cute pencils. So she “stalked” this family until they were ready to check out.
Prior to them entering the check-out line, Theresa had told the manager and cashier that she had bought some items for the little girl and that she had wanted to pay for all of the supplies herself. As the items were put onto the conveyer belt, the Mom started seeing all of the items she had told her daughter to put back. Each time the Mom grabbed an item to put it back, the cashier would say, “It’s OK.” Another item would pass, and the Mom would again go to remove it. Again, she was met with, “It’s OK.” This time the words came from the manager standing beside the cashier. Soon the Mom began to look around as if to say, “What the heck is going on here?”
That’s when Theresa said, standing in line right behind her, “It’s OK. I would like to buy these school supplies for your daughter."
As the Mom and daughter left the store, Theresa heard the cashier and the manager both say, "I want to do something like that one day."
OK. Good story? Think this Mom and little girl will soon forget the kindness from a stranger at Target right before school started? Think every time that little girl opens her floral folder, she’ll remember that nice lady? Think every time the Mom sees those floral folders and highlighters on the kitchen table, she’ll thank God for bringing such a kind woman into her and her daughter's lives?
And, oh by the way, let’s not forget that Theresa had to ponder what her gifts were! Um, let’s start with love, kindness, mercy, thoughtfulness. Four big gifts in my book! Just because we haven’t won an Academy Award or haven’t been written up in the L.A. Times, doesn’t mean we aren’t gifted. And another thing I’m learning - when your gift comes really naturally, most people don’t see it as a gift. They think they have to work really hard at something for it to be a gift. Nope. You would be wrong. Therefore, look how easy it is to give away!
For those girls who have attended our class, and for those of you we have yet to meet, please ask yourself today, “Who needs my smile? My hands? My heart? My feet? My ears? My God? My strength? My hope? My love?”
I’m guessing the list is a mile long.
And P.S. I wrote this post while I ate lunch by myself today at Meditteraneo, as I had 45 minutes to kill before picking my son up from school. I sat outside, had a great meal, the breeze was just perfect, and I was pleased with what I wrote. As I was waiting for the bill, I wondered what photo I would use for this post when I got home. As the bill came and I signed my name, I noticed the name of my server. Perfect, I thought! Look closely at the photo above! And I thought I ate lunch by myself! :)