Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's the Season!

Last year, in early December, I stood in a line up waiting to mail off some Christmas parcels. I was in a hurry. I was busy. I just wanted to get the parcels mailed and be off on my next task. The line up was fairly long and as I stood there I thought of what I would do next. I really didn't want to speak with anyone.

Then an elderly lady joined the lineup. She was cheerful and chatty. Reluctantly, I was dragged into a conversation with her - just a general conversation about the slowly moving line, the weather, etc. I responded politely, but not enthusiastically to her prompts.

Suddenly, she tilted her head, looked straight at me and said, "This is going to be a hard Christmas for me. My husband died in August."

Now that got my attention. Fast. I looked at her in a new way, wanting to offer some comfort. All I could say was that I was sorry and did she have plans and so on. We chatted a bit more, and this time, I was fully engaged.

Just before my turn came to approach the postal clerk, the lady said to me, "You have a kind face. You must be a very nice person."

There wasn't much more time - all I could do was put my hand on her arm and wish her a Merry Christmas and say, "God bless you."

A fleeting encounter. That's all it was. But I learned a lesson that day. Several lessons, in fact.

1. You never know what people are going through - the hurts, the disappointments, the sorrows. Most people don't share. But there are so many hurting people in this world. Don't judge. Accept people where they are at.

2. Be open. When I was willing to open myself up a little and talk with this lady, we had a pleasant conversation. I know that my life was touched by hers in spite of the brevity of our talk. And I know that her life made an impact on my life. I hope hers was a little warmed by mine.

3. Actions really do speak louder than words. Her last comment to me about having a kind face - I hope I do. But I know that I don't often feel kind inside. And yet I know that me actions, even being polite when I really don't feel like it, reflects what goes on inside of me. And I pray that what that lady saw, and didn't know how to acknowledge, was really Christ's life in me.

4. Plan ahead. And so, this year, as I go about my Christmas errands, shopping and standing in lines, I'm praying for a heart that is open and tender, and for Christ's life to shine through mine.

For more Christmas-inspired posts that address the true reason for celebrating Christmas, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.
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  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. I still remember my 18th birthday. I was alone in a new city. Not one person had said anything to me all day. Then I went to the bank and the tellar explaimed "OH! today is your birthday! Happy birthday." My eyes filled with tears. People just want to be loved. The end.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. In our day to day lives it really is easy to get lost in "me".

  3. What a great story! And so true of me sometimes too. I forget to look around and see how might be hurting. I just blast through my day only thinking of me and all I have to do. I love the idea of slowing down, noticing who is around us, and being AVAILABLE for what God might want to do through us, even while waiting in line at the post office!

    I loved your post, thank you!!!


  4. Oh Lorrie what a wonderful moment you both had in the post office line! A REAL moment! It is not how things begin that is important, it is how they end up in our hearts that counts.
    I love to go out and look for faces to smile at...they are often caught so off guard. When they smile back...mission accomplished!
    Thank you for being such a wonderful friend...
    Love Karla

  5. Hi Lorrie...

    A very touching post...it is true...we must remember and believe that the true spirit of the season is not about the mall or a long line at the post office!!
    Kindness is a gift from God...and all of us need to give it and receive it in our busy lives.

    Thank-you for sharing.
    Hugs, Nancy
    And thank-you for visiting.

  6. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Thanks for reminding us how important it is to live life fully, and to see the people God sends our way.

  7. What a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Lorrie. I have so many of those "tunnel vision" days! Your words have reminded me not to go through this season with blinders on but to really try to see people and touch them where they are. Thank you!


  8. Thank you for reminding me to keep a positive outlook as I am going about my errands. We just moved to Germany (and starting blogging!), and I can't speak much German AT ALL, so it's been really hard. It's the little things like chatting in line at the store that I miss.
    But like you write, we never know what might happen, so thank you. I will do my best to keep all smiles.

  9. A good reminder, we never know when we are in the midst of God appointments and it is so easy to miss the moment of being Christ to others.


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