Earlier today I was at the store and a man was shopping with three kids. One of the kids ran in front of me, bumped into me and fell. The man gruffly told me to watch where I was going. I apologized, but in my head I was thinking, “Who wasn’t watching where they were going?” A few minutes later the same little boy was wandering by himself. I asked him if I could take his hand and find his Dad, so we did. When we finally found him, he shortly thanked me and began scolding this little boy. One of the kids was whining they were hungry and the other one was grabbing things off the shelves and putting them into the cart, and Dad was taking them out of the cart and putting them back. I could tell he was about to snap and asked if I could help him.
He looked at me funny and said, “What do you mean?” So I answered, “Well if you have a list, I could get the things, and you could take the kids to look at toys or tv’s or something. I’d offer to take them, but I am sure you don’t want to leave them with a stranger.” He swallowed hard, looked down and said, “My wife died of cancer last month. I wish I realized how hard things like this were when she was alive. It’s obvious I am not great a multi-tasking with three kids.” I told him I was sorry, but I would like to help, to which he replied, ” I have a hard time accepting help, but today I will take it if you have the time.” He quickly made a list and I shopped.
When I went to check out, a cashier ran over to me, and said, “A gentleman pointed you out to me and he wanted you to have this.” She handed me a $25 Bath and Body Works Gift Card, and then said, ” He said to tell you thank you and this was one of his wife’s favorite stores. “
This was just a reminder that things on the outside aren’t always what they appear: smiles and unpleasantness on the outside can be tears and pain on the inside. We all need to remember to have grace. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the day where we celebrate Jesus’ birth: the giver of unending grace.