My good friend Nan sent out a mass forward last week called "The Garden". It was a really cool web link that led you through a flash site of a garden, and each part of the garden was a devotional. Pretty much near the beginning, it gave the advice to sit quietly and allow your heart to take over while you talk to God and the suggested prayer was, "Dear Lord, help me to see who I am in You, and not to define myself by what I do…". A lot of people who know me would say thats an area I need work in, and so I prayed that prayer and asked God to help me define myself by who I am as He created me.
Anyway, I found the whole thing rather peaceful but once it was over I went about my busy day. I cant remember all I did… running errands, watching the clock, calling Greg at the office from my cell and asking him to look up things, etc… it was hectic. I made a quick stop at the Walmart grocery store (for you Niagara people, its a full service grocer right inside WM!) and hastily ran around the store picking up items and juggling phone calls.
For some reason, I found myself staring at this little old lady with a bad foot shuffle. She moved painfully slow and she was by herself. I felt sorry for her but I was way too busy so I moved on. I kept seeing her though, and whats more, I felt like God was making me notice her. I finished my groceries and made an impulsive visit to the fruit section before checking out when I heard someone calling, "excuse me?". I turned and it was the little old lady. She asked me where the checkouts were and a few things happened at that moment; 1. She wasnt very coherent and her eyes were glazed over. 2, the checkouts were very close to us, so it was odd that she asked where they were, and 3. I felt God tell me that I had to look out for her. In true "I’m an extremely busy person" fashion, I pointed her to the checkouts and walked away.
Okay, so I didnt get very far. As I stood in the veggy section pretending that I was looking at green peppers I watched her head for the checkouts and tried to talk myself OUT of looking out for her. I rationalized that she would probably think I’m crazy, or a stalker… that security would throw me out, that I’m suffering from a mental condition and that the need to look out for some strange woman was a side effect…. pretty much any excuse I could think of. I watched her head for the checkouts, then walk right by them, and then I went after her. I caught up to her and asked, "mam, are you still looking for the checkouts?" and she said yes. I told her that she passed them, but she seemed to not hear me and kept shuffling forward with her cart. The manager was watching me, so I went to him and told him that she needed help and to please have someone go after her, but he just stood there and mumbled, "hope she’s okay…" and then went back to his paperwork. I went after her again, and this time I had to put my hands out and stop her, then turn her cart around. The whole time I was thinking, "this is crazy, she’s going to start yelling for the police".
A very long story short, I spent the next hour getting her to the checkouts, loading her groceries and stopping her from losing her focus and wandering off. She did start to talk to me though, and she told me all about her children, how her husband died, how she hurt her leg and how hard it is to be alone. She had her address and the phone number for the cab company on a piece of paper and I helped her call the cab then offered to wait with her. She was adamant that I had helped her enough and insisted that she was fine, so I wrote my name and phone number on a piece of paper and left her at the front doors. Dont worry, I didnt go far – I sat in my car and watched her until her cab came and she was safely on her way.
I was sitting there once she was gone and just marveling over the weirdness of the day and trying to recalculate a new schedule when I felt the need to pray. I put down my iPod and asked, "Lord? What just happened?", and I felt that God was telling me, "there. This is who you are in Me".
Its SO cool when you realize your prayers were answered :D. And also, she called me later that day. She’s a very sweet woman and I hope that I hear from her again.