Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quick Hello

This is a quick note to my Soli Deo Gloria friends.  I'm sitting in a quiet house while Lily sleeps and Gunnar tries to unwind.  Today was a preschool day.  He was line leader and had a blast.  As we walked to pick up his sister he said, "Mom, aren't you so proud of me that I was the line leader today?"  I assured him that I was, beaming as I spoke affirmation over him. 

He did a great job today: modeling how to line up for the other kids; delighting the teacher with his pretend play (fireman head to toe, including the princess gloves he put on because they were the only gloves available and, "firemen have to have gloves", or so he told his teachers); playing well with the other kids; and generally having a great attitude.  I am really, really proud of him.  He is learning to love others outside of the little world we call home.

How much more must our Father in Heaven feel when he looks down at us and sees us choosing well, acting well?  Most of you know what I'm talking about: that indescribable feeling of pride a mother has when she observes a moment of her child 'getting it'.  I can't imagine how His heart must swell if mine feels like it might burst out of my chest in that small, human moment.

All of this leads me to this juxtaposition: last week I had two very different experiences, both of which keep coming back to the forefront of my thought life.

One: I witnessed a young woman parking in a handicapped spot.  She had no sticker and was obviously quite healthy.  Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I asked her if she had realized she parked in a handicapped spot.  "Maybe she just missed the sign," I thought.  She brusquely turned a go-to-you-know-where look on me and said with a very mean tone of voice, "I'm quite aware."  Then she continued to stalk toward her destination.  In a sweet tone of voice, trying to control my temper, I replied: "okay, well I'll just call the police then."  I did and that was that.  She saw me - as my children did - photographing her license plate and calling it into the cops.

I later explained to my children why I had done that.  I told them that, particularly because of their grandmother (who is in a wheelchair) and grandfather (who is a lung transplant recipient), it offends me when people choose to break that particular law.  I also told them that, if they believe in something strongly, they need to do something about it.  Last but not least I said, "it's not our job to enforce all laws, but I happen to believe strongly in that one, so I did something about it."

The woman's response deeply upset me.  Why in the world would she choose to dig in her heels over something so insignificant (for her anyway, not insignificant to someone who actually needs a handicapped spot)?  She could have simply humbled herself and moved her car.  Instead she chose anger, rudeness, pride, stubbornness.  It was a real bummer.  As I told my husband later that night, it upset me so much that it actually made me lose hope in all people in general.  "People are so cruel," I said to him.

Two: I recently started working in the cafe at Barnes & Noble, part-time at night.  Although I would rather not be working (instead I want to give all of my energy to my kids and home), I am very grateful for the job.  I'm particularly grateful to be around books and people who love books, since I'm working on a novel of my own.  One night as I was working I struck up a conversation with a stranger, a regular who comes in to read books in the genre my novel is in.  We chatted for a few minutes and then I asked him if he would recommend some authors for me to read.  He said sure.  I only half believed that he would.

The next night he showed up and wrote me out a list of twenty or so authors and novels.  He explained where I should begin and what he liked about each of them.  There was nothing creepy about this - it was simply one stranger doing something nice for another. 

Because I so deeply love books I felt like this was a little tap of encouragement from the Father, a little angel He sent my way to affirm my likes and desires.  And this man had let the Lord use him to encourage me simply by being willing to be nice to another human being.  This small act was so completely opposite from the handicap parking woman's actions and attitude that it restored my hope, my belief that we as humans can choose rightly after all.

I have a feeling God was as proud of my new friend in the bookstore as I was of Gunnar today.  I thank Him for the gift of the kindness of strangers.

(On a side note: I'm published!  I just had a short article printed in this month's issue of Austin Monthly magazine.  Woo-hoo!!!  Another thing to be very grateful for....)

Linking up with Jen and the ladies at Soli Deo Gloria today.


  1. Congratulations on getting published! I think, what we often do not realize, is that every act and word we give, affects someone else in some way. We are not solitary creatures on this earth. Although, maybe that young woman wouldn't have cared about that anyway!

  2. Hi Jenny, I talked about behavior today on my post too! It's hard dealing with unruly people. What a blessing of encouragement from the man though :) Congratulations on your article!! Blessings :)

  3. Kudos to you! Sooooo great about your article. Just the beginning, Jenny.

    How nice to be gifted with a kindness like that. What a great place to work, I think. But the books would be SO tempting for me...

  4. Yeah, you got published.

    I remember reading Joni Erickson Tada about her frustration after the hours that it took her to prepare and be in her car . . . then to finally make it to the store and there would be no handicap parking, because someone took it who didn't need it. She would applaud you calling the police.

    I want to stop by your B and N for a late nite chat.Blessings on your part time job.


  5. You reminded me that God might be proud of me. I find it so hard to remember that He might want to tell me that. I just keep on pushing to the next thing and I think part of me is just afraid because of my past issues with pride.

    I don't know how much sense this comment is making -- I suppose your words struck my heart and my thoughts are too muddled to respond.