I want you to know that I’m not typing this to toot my own horn. I believe that there’s power to this story and it will appeal to the deepest channels of your heart and soul.
I hate shopping. Ask my girlfriend Kristen what I think about shopping. Being the dutiful boyfriend that I am, I go shopping with her whenever she wants, but I’ll make a snarky comment or two when we walk into a store and walk out with absolutely nothing. She’ll get dresses, shirts, and whatever else a girl can try on and she’ll try them on. She’ll grab all these things and hold them knowing good and well that she’s not going to end up buying it. I’ll ask “Why are you even holding it if you know you’re not going to get it?” She’ll reply “It’s always free to hold things.” Touché. For once in my life I don’t have a witty comment to comeback with. I’ve met my match. I say all of this to let you know my dislike for shopping. Whether it be food or clothes. I can’t stand it. So here we go:
I’m a typical college student-athlete. No money, no time, and no food. However, the other day I had money and I knew that I should go spend it on some groceries to get me through the next two weeks until I can get some more money and repeat this cycle. We’ve all been through it. (Ramen Noodles come in clutch late at night by the way.)
I leave my apartment in hurry because as I said before, I hate shopping. Period. I grab everything that I need, go through the self-checkout line, and BAM. In and out in under 15 minutes with $60 worth of food. Take notes!
I pack all of my stuff into the bed of my truck and I’m on my way back to the apartment. However, Walmart is absolutely packed. It’s Sunday afternoon and the church crowd is grabbing stuff for their afternoon cookouts among other things. So, that means the parking lot is bumper to bumper trying to get out. I got a front row parking spot, which I thought was awesome because it meant that I could get in and out even more quickly. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Going in was very efficient but getting out was an absolute nightmare.
As I’m slowly making my way out of the Wal-Mart parking lot, I see somebody standing on the sidewalk close to the road. It’s a woman and her sign says “Need Food or Water. Anything will help. God Bless.” You don’t see this very often in Cleveland, or at least I don’t. So, it caught my attention. I debate about whether I should give her some of the food that I had just bought from the store. Being in the rush that I was I decided to just ignore her and continue on with my drive back thinking, “Somebody else will help her out.”
I get not even 50 feet by her and I immediately regret my decision. If I don’t do something, how do I know that somebody else will? I turn back around and find a parking spot close to her, but in a place where she can’t see me and see the food that I’m making for her. I grab some of the bread I just got along with some turkey. I fix it up and I think “This woman needs something else besides this.” So, I grab one of my double decker MoonPies to take with me along with a bottle of water. Oh how I love MoonPies!
As I begin my walk up to her she doesn’t see me at first, but as I get closer and closer she turns around and sees me. She immediately begins to tear up seeing what she’s about to get. She doesn’t even reach for the food first…she reaches out to me to give me a hug. She held me and squeezed me and thanked me. The power, the emotion, and the comfort of that hug made me feel so at peace. To think that I almost passed her up made me feel so ashamed, but the hug and the smile on her face made me forget all of that. I felt the power of the human spirit being transferred from one human being to another. It made me feel alive. I told her goodbye after I gave her the food and I got back in my car to head to my apartment. As I drove back by her I saw her chewing on that sandwich I had just made and I was moved into tears. Not tears of sadness and not tears of pity. They were tears of happiness and love.
I went to go give this lady food and show her love, but she gave me something far greater in return. She gave me a sense of meaning in this world. You see, the secret to living is giving. How can we feel alive if all we do is do stuff for ourselves and not others around us? We can live a life where we worry about finances, school, and health, but when we do that we live a life full of fear and anxiety. To truly let go and live is to give more than you receive. Nothing in this life can replace the power of giving. It brings an array of emotions in you. There’s nothing greater than doing something for somebody when you know that they can’t give you anything in return.
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13
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