Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I’m Thankful

We walk up to the checkout stand with our cart full of food – and I realize I left the checkbook at home.

“Oops!” I smile sheepishly at my patient wife, and race out the door toward home.

At the edge of the parking lot with her sign, that woman is there again, with her now familiar long scraggly hair, one bad eye, and a nice smile. I’m not sure she knows she’s smiling. Suddenly, I’m a bit annoyed. My dad and I gave you gloves and socks last Christmas, I recall. That was a long time ago. Now I’m really annoyed. Angry, even. Why are you still here?

No, I say to myself, just let it go. You’re not thinking nice. Just let it go.

Well, wait, I say. You’re REALLY angry! What’s that about? Let’s mull this over for a moment.

So I begin to assess the situation critically. Then I notice my car. Or in truth, the car I was driving. A beautiful four-seater, still the nicest car I’ve ever owned. Only, I DIDN’T own it. Some dear friends at church, who’d only known us a short time, showed up at our door the very day I turned our only car into the junk yard – and lent us this one. “But I have no idea when I’ll be able to get my own!” I tried. “No problem,” they smiled. We had it for almost a year.

Then I remember the house we’d lived in just prior to the one that now held my checkbook. Again, we didn’t own it. The two ladies who did were going to be away for several months before moving in. My mom was their realtor, and Nancy and I had just moved in temporarily with my parents as we prepared to settle in the area. The ladies asked my mom, “Do you know anyone who’d like to live in our house while we’re gone – for free?” Did she ever! We were there for four months. It’s still the biggest house we’ve ever lived in.

When I get home for my checkbook, I remember the woman, but not my anger. I grab my checkbook and something else…

I pull back into the parking lot, and walk over to the lady. I hand her a shopping bag, stuffed full of everything I could find that she might be able to eat for a while. “I hope this helps.” She smiles at me, whether or not she knows why. I smile back, and I know exactly why.

Because I’m thankful.


  1. It is important to realize where we came from and that we couldn't do it alone. Bravo to you for looking at the anger and getting to the root of your feelings. Beautifully worded.

  2. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for dropping by the other day. Thanks for all the encouragement. That's a great project you have there. I'll send you my thank-you letter soon. I'll post your link on my blog too.
    God bless

  3. I work on being non-judgemental daily- it's somethiing I am soo not proud of. When I had cancer and we had no insurance, we had to move from a big house to a small one on the "other" side of town - had to return our car - and I had to take 3 buses to go to chemo weekly, then to radiation daily. The bus route took us past the homeless shelter. A coincidence? Probably not. As I sat there with people who were far worse off than I was, I remember feeling so ashamed. Ashamed that I once thought "Well you can be poor but you can at least take a shower!" - Suddenly I realized they had NO PLACE to take a shower..probably no soft, fluffy towel, no great smelling soap & shampoo. They were just trying to get from one place to another - just like I was.
    Hmmm...God does work in mysterious ways, huh?
    Thanks for the reminder to keep those lessons front & center.

  4. How kind an generous you are...

    I am not sure in all honesty that I would not have been judgemental...

    I saw a news story once where there was this man who would sit in front of the grocery store with his sign saying he would work for food or money... so the news people offered him work.. even told him where to show up ... they found him at the store again with his sign on the same day he was supposed to be working.... when they asked him why he didnt show ..he wouldnt answer them ... instead he looked straight ahead and ignored them.. I now find it hard for me to see past that or to find the sincerity or truth in the matter..

    I applaud you for your kindness

    This is not to say that I judge every perosn like that...and I do give ... I have been where others would be shocked.... but when I see the same person over and over and over again.. a red light does come on ... its sad for me because I dont care to be so skeptical but alas it is a reality...



  5. Isn't it wonderful that God can help us sift through the muck in our mind's eye and help us to see clearly through our heart?!


  6. This post made me smile. You did the right thing. You have a good heart.


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