When I was in my twenties towing four young boys behind me (ages 8, 4, 2 and a newbie) everywhere I went, I would have days in which I was utterly exhausted. I loved those days and if I had a chance to do them over again, I would in a heartbeat. Nevertheless, some days drained me of all my energy. At such times, I had a tendency to be abrupt with some people. My patience would be running thin. On one such day, an elderly woman who was the Pastor’s wife at the Church we attended, turned to me with a smile on her face and gently said: “There’s never an excuse not to be Gracious”. It was a tender rebuke and I have never forgotten it. Though sadly I don’t always adhere to it, I can still hear her rebuke ring in my ears thirty-six years later when I don’t. Why? Because she spoke Truth to me that day and try as we may, at times, Truth plants a seed that is not easily forgotten.
In my Grief, there are days when I once again am utterly drained. Aging and physical pain only compounds the lack of energy. On such days, it is a struggle to ward off my impatience. I will easily give way to depression and discouragement; the desire to simply throw up my hands and quit looms. Yet, those wise words still ring in my ears. However, I have discovered what can turn such feelings around on a dime…a simple act of kindness.
One day last year, I had to get supplies at the local store and I was running on low energy. My grief was on overload as I was facing my son’s anniversary of his demise and I was not at all up to the task. But it had to be done out of pure necessity. I managed to run some errands and purchase my supplies, but every step was a struggle. It felt as if I was carrying a fifty pound weight on my back. The pain I was feeling both physically and emotionally was taking its toll. I had one last stop to make, to drop off a bill in the mailbox. By this point, I just wanted to get home and my patience was now on empty. As I pulled up by the mailbox, a woman was attempting to cross over in front of me for she was also headed to the mailbox. I didn’t want to stop to let her cross over; I wanted to ignore her and be done with my list of things to do. However, I almost grudgingly did stop and permit her to go ahead of me. She was very gleefully smiling as she scooted across, and I think I was able to squeeze out a little smile in return.
After she dropped off her letter, she turned to cross back over and then realized I, too, had a letter to mail. She came over to my car and apologetically said she hadn’t realized that I was also attempting to get to the mailbox and then said she’d take my mail to the box for me. I hesitantly handed it to her as I battled with a momentary trust issue. As she returned to the box to mail it, she even stepped to one side as she did so that I could clearly see her mail it and close the chute. She was quite lightheartedly doing this. She then with more glee smiled and waved at me as she went on her way.
At this point, I simply sat there in my car and broke down in tears. My body was in so much pain at this point, that getting out of the car for one more brief errand would have felt like climbing Mt. Olympus. I was missing my boy terribly. I was feeling unloved, alone, unappreciated by everyone in my life. Once again, I was having to endure all my grief alone. This woman’s simple act of kindness opened the dam. The tears uncontrollably flowed. Though they were tears of great sorrow, they were also tears of great healing. I had been bottling them up inside, but her kindness was the key that allowed them to be released. I think she may have been an Angel; she certainly was one to me.
One never knows what another may be carrying on any given day. I’m so grateful that I stopped the car and chose to be Gracious that day and permit this woman to go ahead of me, even if I had done so begrudgingly. What I received in return was abundantly more than what I had given. The blessing this woman bestowed on me was so much more than the simple act of placing a letter in a mailbox for me. Whenever I am reminded of her act of kindness, I say a prayer for God to bless her.
Hebrews 13: (NKJV)
2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))