Danielle blogs her thoughts at Mama Bird Muses and Babbles, and shares her family escapades at Our Own Little Nest. She is a homeschooling Mama Bird to four small children (they are gorgeous, by the way!) and she's got a handsome and hard-working hubby! I'm sure that's one of the things that drew me to her (not that her hubby is handsome, but that his work requires her to do the whole parenting thing single-handedly more often than is ideal). On top of all her super-ness, Danielle is also a business-woman, creating beautiful and original designs at Danielle Designs.
Without further adieu, I will invite you to grab your Kleenex box and enjoy hearing about how God has been moving in Danielle's world lately!
I turn down the bread aisle and scan the shelves for my favorite bread.
What time is it anyway?
7:45. I need to get the kids from Vacation Bible School in 30 minutes.
I locate the bread I want, and as I start piling loaves into my cart, the cheerful old man sharing the aisle with me strikes up a conversation.
"You know, my doctor told me I needed to stop eating so much bread because of my high blood pressure. He told me I can only have one slice at breakfast time, but you know that's just not enough to fill me up."
He chatters on, and as he's doing so I notice his unkempt gray beard, his scraggly gray hair, his thin plaid shirt, his raggedy blue suspenders. I smile and exchange pleasantries as he continues on, this time about ice cream, all the while thinking about how I don't have time for this.
I'm SO going to be late. How do I ditch this guy?
A few moments later, someone I barely know comes walking down the aisle, and I cringe inside.
I hope she doesn't think I know this man, or that I'm friends with him.
I finally find enough of a break in the man's stories to excuse myself and wish him a good day. A wave of guilt comes over me, but I shrug it off.
Oh well.I'm a busy mom. I don't have time to chit chat with him.
I look at the clock and realize I really need to hurry so I'm not late picking up the kids, and I grumble to myself.
Great.a rare hour away by myself, and I have to rush because an old man doesn't know when to take a hint and stop talking.
I get some beef and ham from the meat counter and head to the last aisle. As I'm loading gallon after gallon of milk into my already full cart, I notice the old man shuffling towards me with his almost-empty cart. He eyes all my groceries, then says with a smile, "It looks like you have a pretty big family."
"Well, I have a husband and four kids, and two of them are growing boys so this milk'll be gone in less than a week!" I laugh and busily load more necessities into my cart, hoping he'll see that I don't have time to chat.
"Oh! Four kids huh?! Well.I'm just an old bachelor." His voice trails off like he's ashamed of what he's just admitted, and I'm not sure how to respond.
I reassure him, "Hey there's nothing wrong with that either!"
"Yeah." He stops to think what to say next, or maybe he's working up the courage to admit a sad truth, but his expression prompts me to slow down - and then stop - so I can listen to this man who has seen so many years. He looks me in the eyes, and with a smile that fails to hide the sadness, he continues, ".but in my old age it sure would be nice to have family around me."
And for the first time, instead of looking at his eyes, I look into them. I watch as the rims redden and wetness threatens to take over. He blinks and gets nervous, and I do the same. My throat tightens, my nose starts to tingle as I fight back the tears, and I realize that I'm not here to get groceries. I'm here for this man. Or maybe it's the other way around.
And the words that come out of my mouth surprise me, because I know they aren't my own, but the Spirit's.
"Well, you should have dinner with me and my family sometime! Do you live here in town?"
He looks at me as if he hasn't heard me right. "What?"
I repeat the question, and he tells me he lives in Attica. I smile even bigger as I realize what God is up to. I tell the man that we also live just north of Attica, way out there in the country, and that I'm going to call him and invite him for supper. His humble, quiet response breaks my heart.
"Oh, you wouldn't want to bother with an old man like me."
And I look into his eyes, no longer seeing the defects for which I had judged him before, and I tell him gently, "It would be no bother. We'd love to have you. Please.what's your name so I can call you?"
He shares with me his name - Mr. Moon - and I assure him that I'll be calling him. He smiles at me, and the look on his face makes me think he's seen an angel.
I tell him goodbye and as I drive away from the store, I sob. Tears stream down my cheeks.
Tears of regret. How could I have been so judgmental? Tears of shame. How could my thoughts have been so callous? Tears of redemption. Thank you, Savior, for a second chance to love that man. Tears of gratefulness. Thank you, Father, for a family with whom to grow old. Tears of excitement. Lord, how will You use us in the life of this man? How will You use this man in our lives? Tears of appreciation. Thank you, God, for helping my blind eyes to see little better tonight.
I think again about the way Mr. Moon looked at me, as if I were an angel.
And I wonder. With all that I've learned about myself and about the love of God - all because of brief interaction with this old man - is it possible that he is the angel?
Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.Or, I wonder, is God showing me how to love someone that I initially deemed unlovable? Is God teaching me how to love "the least of these"?
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'Tonight, I met a man named Mr. Moon. He needed a bath, a haircut, and new clothes, but that matters not.
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' -Matthew 25:34-45
For he's a human being.
Made in the image of Almighty God.
Just like me.
Danielle, words cannot even express how thankful I am for you! Beautiful. Your words are the piece de resistance on this week. Thank-you for sharing your poignant encounter!