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 frazzeled 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!” she said with a joyful laugh. “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 was ecstatic and her laughter was filled with wonder. Surprised that a complete stranger would take the time to open up their hearts to someone they don’t know, she 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.
Since meeting Grace I’ve felt so inspired to make a difference. I can’t wait to see her next week, when I bring a few more goodies for baby and a some spoils for her.
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.