Monday, January 11, 2016

Mercy Time

Checkout line at Walmart, 5:30 p.m. I've made it through the entire shopping list - apples, milk, rice, chicken broth, salt, and whatever else a family functions on - and am ready to be home two hours ago.

The kind checkout lady swipes the last item: "$44.47."

I dig in my wallet, pull out the card, and swipe.

The sound that everyone dreads: beep. "Transaction could not be completed," says the sassy little touchscreen. (Don't you hate those things sometimes?)

Since I know that this is a problem with the bank, and not with how much money I have to spend, I start taking things out of the cart (bye bye, apples) and the lady rings a smaller list up for me.

Beep again. You get the idea.

After another unsuccessful try, I hear a soft voice behind me.

"Excuse me, ma'am?"

I turn around and see a tall man standing there with a kind look on his face.

"Do you need help paying for your groceries?"

I am awed by this sweet question and how he just shows up out of nowhere.

"Well, yes, my card isn't working."

"I can help you," he says, again in that so-soft voice that I can barely hear.

All the things I removed from my cart are re-scanned, and the sweet cashier once again gives the total: "$44.47." The stranger pulls out three $20 bills and sets them on the counter. He waits for the receipt to print and the change to be given, then he takes the change and walks away.

Just like that.

I thank him for the third time as he is walking away with his back to me. He doesn't stop, just turns his head and nods.

I push the cart out to the parking lot, load up the car, and sit there completely amazed at what God does, thanking him for someone that saw a need and stepped in, not wanting any accolades or compensation. I wish I had thanked him twice as many times, gotten his name, given him a hug. I pray that he knows that he has blessed us that night, and I pray that he is blessed himself.

Words can't express what I feel about what he did.

Three $20 bills and a tall stranger with a heart of gold have given me an inspiration.

I want to be that person who just shows up - in the check out line, at Starbucks, in the parking lot, at church, at home, at school - and takes care of something. The person who pays for the couple in the car behind them, the person who is poof, there, and poof, gone, when someone can't pay for what they have in the bags. The person who sees someone struggling with a door and a load of stuff and runs to help. The person who sees a serviceman/woman or first responder in the restaurant and picks up their tab.

The person who sees someone struggling with all those things that run deeper than groceries, heavy doors, and a $5 latte... and is there. With help.

So that's part of what I believe is the mission God has sent us on. Show love and mercy. Leave an impact on people that leaves them feeling knocked out of their socks and wondering what it is that makes you do that. I will be looking out for those who need help - whether it's a $20 bill handed to the cashier without pause or a long hug and tissue for the tears.

I want to give others that unbelievable feeling I had while sitting in the Walmart parking lot last Saturday.

Why don't you join me?

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.   James 3:17 (NKJV)