Last week I did a big clothing purge and ended up throwing out a whole bunch of Curly’s small clothes. Yep, it’s official, my kids grow faster than the speed of light. We ended up with 2 bags of toddler clothing that needed a new home. I was so in awe of how blessed we are. We may not live in a fancy house or drive expensive cars, but we have so much more than those who have absolutely nothing. Suddenly discarded clothing took on new life and I realized that I could use it to spread a little bit of hope.
We spent the rest of the week lugging the bag around with us. It was literally in the way, ALL the time, but I knew that it was meant to go to a specific lady and a specific baby and I refused to get rid of it until the person it was intended for came along! I kept expecting to stumble upon a forlorn looking mother wearing raggedy clothing and no shoes, with crying baby on the hip. But after days of no such person coming my way, I asked myself: “Why are you putting a limit on it?” The thought instantly freed me up and I suddenly saw new ways to show a little bit of kindness to others: Helping an old lady carry her grocery’s to her car or purchasing a novelty, homemade toy from the street vendor on the corner; buying the security guard a hot pie for lunch or giving the frazzled mom with the twin boys, in the mall, a kind smile. The possibilities were endless!
A few days later, and I was still lugging around the bag filled with baby items. Still no recipient. And then a chance trip to our local shopping complex drew my attention to a tired looking car guard. She did not know that I was carefully checking her out (which may have made me appear to be slightly mad) but I was trying to figure out if she was a mommy and if the bag of baby clothes could be of benefit to her. There were no tell tale signs that she had kids, but deep down in my gut, I knew that she was the one. I had to speak to her.
“Hi! How are you?” I asked as I approached her.
“I’m fine and you?” she smiled shyly, as she directed a car out of it’s parking bay. I waited as she greeted the passing motorist, unsure of how I would ask if she has small children without sounding like a weirdo.
“I’m sorry,” I said, hoping to set her at ease, “I’m Luchae.”
“I’m Grace**,” she said, with another shy smile.
“Grace, do you have children? I know this is a strange question to ask!” She laughed leaving me relieved that she didn’t think I was a psycho.
“I do!” she replied. “I have 1 girl, she is 14, and a boy. He is 8 years old already!”
Ahhh 14 and 8. No baby. I was immediately bummed because I was so convinced that Grace was the one that we were meant to bless.
“But…” she said, stopping me in the middle of my pity party… “I’m pregnant!”
“WHAT?!” I shouted. I just about doubled over in surprise. “For real?!”
“I promise!” she laughed, showing me her growing baby bump! “I think it’s a girl!”
I was so happy that I did a little happy dance! I explained that I had been waiting to meet someone that we could bless and that we had a bag of things to give her (and a whole lot more at home). She seemed so surprised that a complete stranger would take the time to open up their hearts to someone they don’t know and thanked me sincerely, saying she is so grateful. I had made a friend. “Oh and here’s a little treat for you too!” I said, passing her a box of biscuits that I had grabbed from the cupboard at home. It was as if we were destined to meet. I mean, the woman is pregnant. She needs chocolate.
Stories like these are not rare and I am most certainly not a saint or an angel. All it takes is an open heart and a desire to meet someone elses need however you are able to. Perhaps you are able to buy someone a hot meal. Or maybe all you can spare is an apple, or a pair of socks, or a friendly smile. Wherever you find the opportunity to practice kindness and be a light – grab it!
I’ve shared my experience with Kyle and he decided to do the same. He left home bedecked with sweet treats and determined. Mission: Make someone smile. He told me that when he shared the treat around at school he was rewarded with a lot of friendly smiles. “It made me feel good!” he explained, when I asked him what it felt like to show intentional kindness. It is our mandate to love and care for others!
How are you being a light?
**Name changed to respect her identity.