So it happened not once but twice today -- the Lord put us in a position to share a moment of blessing with someone else.
We were in the adoration chapel at our church, and I had left momentarily with my youngest two children, who needed a potty break. Suddenly, my other son came dashing into the bathroom, waving a $10 bill at me. "Mom! Mom!" he gasped, eyes nearly popping out of his head. "The lady gave me this! She said to take us to lunch at--- " here he blinked incredulously and gave an intake of breath suitable for the magnitude of the news he was about to impart. "....McDonald's!!!"
Whoa. A rare treat for us, indeed.
Puzzled, I returned to the adoration chapel and exchanged grateful tears with a woman who was there praying, who missed her own grandchildren and greatgrandchildren dreadfully, all of whom lived several states away.
"Enjoy them," she admonished sagely, wiping her cheeks and nodding toward my kids. "I know I miss mine."
I felt joyous and awful, all at the same time. How right she was. How frequently do I outright ENJOY my kids? Really just toss care to the wind for a moment and sit down and giggle with them? I resolved to do so more often this Advent season.
(See? It's ALWAYS worth it to squeeze in a visit for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, even if you can only pop in and say "Hi!" to Him for a minute. He's ALWAYS glad you're there! .....yes, YOU! You and your whiney kids....probably especially the whiney kids. Jesus never said, "Let the children come to me -- oh, except for the whiners." Go and gain the strength you need as a mom to guide your children in His peace. After all, He made 'em. Let Him help you form them!)
Later, in a store parking lot, we pulled into our parking space next to a woman who was seated in her car talking on her phone. Two beautiful rosaries hung from her rear view mirror, one blue with an antique cross, the other white.
Hmmmmm, I thought. Shameless promotion or an opportunity for grace, I wondered? Should I give her my business card, or pray a silent prayer instead and mind my own business?
I opted for both. Something....imperceptible in her demeanor gave me the answer. Before I even realized I had decided, I was breathing a prayer and tapping a fingernail gently on her window. She paused, startled, and rolled it down a bare inch.
"Hi!" I grinned, slightly embarrassed, but now determined. I pointed to her rearview mirror. "I noticed your rosaries hanging there, and I make rosary bracelets," I raised my arm and wiggled my wrist, showing her mine and proffering my business card through the tiny crack with the other hand. I shrugged, "in case you need a present for someone special for Christmas!"
Well. Not exactly smooth, but the message was there.
She took my card, gave me a polite smile as if I was the village lunatic who had just escaped and was holding a knife, then quickly rolled up her window. Well, who could blame her, I thought. But, as I unloaded my kids, I saw her still talking on the phone, now reaching out her hand to finger the crucifix hanging from her rearview mirror.
We left the store and returned to the parking lot well over an hour later. As we approached our van, I noticed the woman's car still was there, but she was gone (probably gone to request police protection). As I was loading my kids back into the van, I turned to see her re-appear, now opening her own car door to leave, too.
This time, she smiled at me openly and broadly.
"Thank you for talking to me earlier," she began. "I needed that. I, uh....I was....I was having a bad day." She nodded and seemed at a loss for further words, so she shrugged and smiled again.
I grinned back. "Well, not any more!" I assured her, and nodded at the rosaries suspended in her car. "You just keep close to your rosary and the day can only get better!"
Be an angel to someone else today, and allow someone else to be an angel to you!
"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2)