Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blessed by a Stranger

Yesterday, the kids and I stopped at a health food store to pick up a few things.  After we'd been there for about ten minutes, a woman who worked there approached us and said how lovely she thought Lizzie's hair was.  Now, Lizzie's hair was in ok condition, but it's pretty close to wash/comb out day and so it wasn't that great.  But the woman who approached us was black with a head of beautiful hair herself, and so who was I to argue her point??!

Lizzie and I thanked her for the compliment and the woman asked if she could ask a personal question...which turned out to be about whether or not Seth and Lizzie were adopted.  I answered in the affirmative and told her that they were originally from Ethiopia, and she clapped her hands together and said that this is what she'd guessed.  She sounded delighted and smiled broadly.  She said that I had beautiful children, which I couldn't help but agree with!

Then she said that my children were so blessed and she thanked me for the work I was doing.  That embarrassed me because of course I don't need to be thanked for parenting my children, but then she took my hands in hers and said that she'd been watching us as we'd been moving around the store and felt very blessed by watching us interact, and she wanted to bless me in return.  She said that I was clearly doing a wonderful mothering job because of how lovingly my kids called me "mommy mommy" and because of how well they listened to me and because of how patient I was with them.  She said we were a beautiful family together.

It brought tears to my eyes, and I felt like putting my head on her shoulder and simply resting there in the warmth and comfort of her smile.  I have tears in my eyes just writing these words.  Her kindness helped me find a place of rest.

You read my post of yesterday.  I've been indulgent in grouchiness and short termperedness. I haven't been in top form of late.  I simply haven't been.  At first when she spoke I was tempted to say something like if only you knew how inept I've been feeling, how grouchy...

She could have been critical of Lizzie's hair.  She could have remarked about my boys' tendency to wrestle their way through every store.  She could have suggested, even kindly, that I should reconsider entering a store with three children who talk and argue and laugh, and all of it very loudly.

In fact, she needn't have said anything at all and I would have been none the wiser.

But you know what?

She made none of those choices; instead, she chose to lift up and encourage a stranger.

So I said nothing about how grouchy I've been feeling, how out of sorts.  I just let her blessing wash over me and felt it warm me, soften me.  And her kindness, her utter lack of judgment over Lizzie's hair, her smile, her blessing, even the warmth of her hands seeping into mine....  All of these things made me feel able again.

Able to handle whatever today brings with it, and able to navigate it with a return of my better self.

What a real blessing I received from a stranger yesterday.  What a gift.  I've been reminded of how important our words and attitudes are and how profound an impact we have with the messages of our eyes and hearts and hands.  We have such power to build up or tear down.

Blessed by a stranger.  It's not an experience I'm likely to forget.

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