I picked the book, The TREASURE PRINCIPLE, by Randy Alcorn off the shelf because after Dad died the book he wrote–HEAVEN–really ministered to me. I re-read what seemed like a long-lost sermon that made me have flashbacks: You can never do a kindness too soon… You never know how soon it will be too late.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Everything that happens to us in life is a training for the work we will do next.
Where your heart is, there your treasure is also. Giving is LIVING.
So many quotes were going through my head–and yet I was oblivious to everything as I packed up my self-serve groceries. I was barely noticing the people around me when I heard the clerk ask the man, “Do you have another card?” He didn’t seem to understand what she was asking so she tried to mime. “CARD.” Do you have more? Then she asked if he had cash. Not only was he not able to fully understand her, he took out his wallet and looked confused and scared. His cart was full of bread and water and really basic things that I was sure he needed to take home to what I imagined was a newly-settled family struggling with a language barrier.
It was at that moment that I had a flashback to my newly-settled family. My husband was in school full time and I was on maternity leave after the birth of our first child. We were so poor we had begged to get a break in rent by vacuuming the hallways of the apartment, shoveling snow or raking leaves or anything that would allow us a lower payment. We had only one couch that was gifted to us by a woman whose daughter couldn’t fit it up the stairs and around the corner of her apartment so she let us have it. We used moving boxes turned upside-down for the tables in our living room and made due with anything others gave us. We were both quite thin but grateful and happy to be new parents.
One night we got a knock on the door and a couple from the church we attended came in with seven bags of groceries. There was everything from catsup and paper towels to beef roast and potatoes. They could see I was near tears when they smiled and said, “This is just paying it forward. When we were first married, someone did this for us and the only thing we can tell you is sometime in the future–remember this and do the same for someone else.”
I heard that voice in my head and thought, “For such a time as this…” and I KNEW this was the time. I asked the man if he had children. It was a sign when he held up one finger. I asked the clerk if I could pay for the groceries on my credit card. She gave me an incredulous look and told the man that I wanted to buy his groceries. He didn’t understand but he said, NO? She explained he could get my name and send me a check but I insisted, “I am supposed to do this. That is why I am here at this moment. I want to.” He allowed me to pay the bill and sort of shook his head in disbelief. He hugged me with a grateful smile and kept shaking his head. One of the clerks asked if I spoke Spanish but I said I did not. It didn’t matter. “Now you’re going to make me cry,” she said as she rang up the purchase on my card. Another clerk was doing everything she could to fan her face, trying to keep mascara from running down her wet cheeks.
A customer recognized me and said, “I might have known you would help this way. God Bless you.” I was thinking to myself, “God blesses me every day. He just helped me to have the right memory at the right time THIS day.” As I was loading my own cart of goods into my car, a woman came up to me. “I just wanted to tell you what he told me because I saw what you did and I do speak Spanish. I wanted you to hear it. He said, ‘she fell from Heaven’.”
Pay it forward. Can you think of a time something unexpected happened to you? Do you know how often such a simple thing can make someone’s day? Take action. Give a compliment. Buy the next coffee at Starbucks. Share what you have or give what you can. Heaven is here. Out of the blue–to you. Be a blessing!