I originally wrote this story for the Villager Newspaper several years ago and thought it would be good to share again. I hope it warms your heart on this cold day!
During one of the most challenging weeks I’ve had yet as a mother of 2 young children, during one of the dreariest months of my life, the kindness and overwhelming generosity of a stranger touched and inspired me, recharged my weary spirit, and renewed my sense of community.
An exceptionally hectic and tantrum-filled trip to the local market for a quick grocery run and deli lunch, for two very hungry and whiny kids, nearly ended in being just one more thing going wrong for me that week.
I had been feeling especially cooped up and downright depressed at the prospect of two more months of winter, trapped inside with the little ones, and was having a hard time seeing much good in the world.
My beloved grandparents had both just passed in the preceding months, and I was especially missing my grandmother that morning. Her sweet and gentle nature had always given me comfort and made me feel loved and cherished, and that week I was feeling anything but. Just a few days before, I was feeling so sad that she was gone, and wishing that she could’ve been around for another 20 years or so, because I was really missing her love and support. I asked her to give me a sign that she was watching over me, that she was there in spirit.
As the kids and I finally made our way up to the registers with a plate of food for them and a few groceries I was picking up for a sick friend, I reached in my purse, only to discover that I had forgotten my wallet! That was really the last straw, and just as I was about to burst into tears of exasperation and frustration, the woman who’d been in front of me in line turned to me and said, “Let me buy you lunch today. I can – and I had someone do this for me once when I had young children. Please, I want to.”
My tears came anyway then, but they instead were tears of gratitude, my soul touched to the very core. I thanked her several times and then went to eat lunch with my kids. I enjoyed my lunch with them, consciously choosing to be present in that moment, to let the warmth of a stranger’s kind deed wrap itself around my heart. Her act of grace and goodness was exactly what my Grandmother would’ve done when she was alive, and I knew that my request to once again feel her love had been answered.
I have been more lighthearted and optimistic since that day, and a better mother to my children because of the gift I was given. Much more than a lunch, it was a gift of hope, given in the spirit of love and understanding.
Thank you, truly, to the woman in the grocery store who gave me so much more than lunch. The sun is shining today, and I think I will make it through winter after all.