Snowflakes drifted onto the windshield as the temperature dipped along with the sun. I drug my weak body into the seat, using every ounce of energy to close the car door. Starting the ignition, I turned the heat on and dialed my sister’s number to complain to her about my day of misery. A familiar voice answered, “Hi Mads, how’s it going?”
I noted the exhaustion in her voice as I recounted my stressful day at work, along with my horrible head cold. I spent a solid 10 minutes complaining about my week before securing a Walmart parking spot. It took everything I could muster to drive to the store for soup fixings; I’d hardly eaten in days. Entering Walmart, I grabbed a basket and headed for the produce aisle.
Helping a Stranger
I began picking out a variety of vegetables when I heard a loud crash. I turned to see that a 12-year-old boy had accidentally rammed his cart into a soda bottle display. The poor kid’s cheeks flushed in embarrassment as 20+ soda bottles scattered onto the floor (thankfully none of them had broken). He looked around timidly, only to be greeted with uncomfortable stares. Hands trembling, he began picking up the bottles while several strangers stared and whispered.
“Taylor, hold on. I’ll be right back.” I slid my phone in my pocket and hurried over to the boy. Without a word, I began picking up the bottles with him. I could tell he was extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable as I silently helped him re-stack the bottles. As soon as people saw me helping, several strangers came forward to assist. It only took a few moments before the shelf was restocked. He looked up at me with nervous eyes and I whispered, “It’s no big deal; it happens to all of us.” I gave him a reassuring smile before returning to my grocery shopping.
That night, I went home with more than soup fixings. I was reminded that though I have rough days, I am not alone. It’s easy sometimes to focus on self-misery, forgetting that those around us may be going through something similar. Despite my bad day, God gave me an opportunity to shift the focus off myself and help a stranger.
Seizing the Opportunity to Help
When on earth, Jesus always took the opportunity to bless others and show kindness. His whole mission was to serve the people around him. His selfless acts (no matter how small) gave light to those afflicted. No matter the situation, Jesus always stepped in to ease the pain or embarrassment of others. One of my favorite examples is when Jesus stood up for Mary Magdalene when she was mocked for “wasting” her money on expensive perfume. Jesus eased her embarrassment by reminding the others of her humble sacrifice.
When presented with an opportunity to do good for someone else, take it. It could be as simple as helping a neighbor bring in groceries, or visiting your local nursing home to cheer up the lonely residents. Be willing to put your kindness into action when you see a need. It is often the little things that make the biggest difference.
Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.
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