After I helped in the grandkids’ classes, I stop at the corner Walmart. Near the eggs, I practically cause a mishap.
“I’m sorry, I almost ran into you,” I say to the preschooler sitting in the cart. His mom is between two carts; pushing one and pulling the other. “You’ve got a big load. That must be heavy. I don’t think I could manage that.”
I turn the corner and proceed down the next aisle.
With a full cart, I get in the check-out line. Moments later, the preschooler’s mom gets in line with two overflowing grocery carts. “How long have you been here?” I ask thinking it would take me forever to select that many groceries.
“Only about an hour. It used to take me longer. I’m by myself. My husband’s in Sacramento. Once I figured out where everything is that all three kids like it goes pretty fast.”
“Your husband being gone must be hard for you and your family.”
“It’s hard but I’ve realized how strong I am. He hasn’t seen the kids in two years. He’s going into an addiction program pretty soon. He drinks a lot.” She pauses and adds, “I don’t drink.”
I finish unloading my cart. “It’s probably difficult to understand his addiction since you don’t drink. How old are your other children?”
“Six and ten. Both girls.” She adds, “We get along okay.”
The clerk begins to check my groceries. “I’ll pray that it goes well for you. It will be great to have your family back together again.”
“We started going to our neighborhood church. It’s different from what I’m used to, but I like it. The kids love it.”
“Sounds like you’re doing the right things. Getting involved in the church, including God. I bet you can get lots of support there.”
She leaves to get something else to add to her cart. I stare aimlessly at the food she’s loaded onto the conveyer belt. I hear God’s voice in my head, “Fifty.”
“Huh?” I question.
“Fifty Dollars,” He explains.
I ask the clerk, “Where are the Walmart gift cards?”
“They’re on the end of aisle five.”
“I’ll be back,” I inform the clerk. I wonder why the gift cards aren’t at every register while I wedge myself between shopping carts and customers to locate a gift card several aisles over. There’s only one Santa card and several baby shower cards left. Santa will do.
I return to my cart. “I’d like $50.00 on the gift card.” After the clerk validates the card, I put it in the tiny envelope. I pay for my items. But before I leave the checkout, I walk a few feet back towards the mom.
As I stand next to her I quietly say, “Here’s a gift card for $50.00. Blessings to you.”
She gives me the warmest hug. “That is so kind of you.”
“Merry Christmas,” I reply.
I float out of the store with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. I think to myself, a mom parenting three children by herself, two overflowing grocery carts, and one blessing. The blessing is all mine. Thanks Lord, for prompting me with fifty.
Image source: 588172201_How to make a countdown [https://vimeo.com/180050155]