If you know me in real life you know that I’m normally the stranger that will cry with someone I see hurting. I’m the woman that walks up to you and offers to hold your crying baby while you shop. I’m the one who sees you struggling to put groceries in your cart and comes over to offer help.
It never feels like an obligation, rather an honor, a divine appointment that God let me walk in on and be a comfort to someone else at that exact moment.
Some of my sweetest and dearest friendships have grown from that single encounter. Others are memories that I hold dear often praying for the individuals years later as God brings them to mind.
One of my most precious friendships grew from a “stranger” who brought me cheesecake when learning of my son who was born at 25 weeks and was fighting for his life some 22 years ago. Today, I cherish her and her entire family… and I know she loves me the same!
And God continues to use strangers in my life….
Yesterday, we received news that Daniels aorta was enlarged. The doctor said that there was nothing that could be done about it, but to watch it. He said if Daniel was older he would say he couldn’t play or do anything strenuous, but Danny boy doesn’t do that anyway. Danny normally is always playing sitting down.
Most of the time, I can forget that Danny boy has anything wrong with him. He’s a “rascal” according to his almost three-year-old niece who prays, “Dear God, please help Danny… that rascal” He’s a “buddy” to his three-year-old nephew who charges in the front door saying, “Where’s my Buddy!?”
Danny is the youngest of 11 children, 7 who still live at home, so he’s thought of pretty highly-everyone adores Danny! And how could you not? He’s tender, sweet, full of life, he’s opinionated, he lights up the room no matter where he’s at. He loves to cuddle in the morning and read books anytime someone will stop to read to him. He cries if he sees someone else get hurt and he’s braver than any other little boy I’ve seen.
Sometimes, I’ll be enjoying the simple moments with Danny Boy when the tears will just start to roll out of my eyes onto my cheeks.
I stop myself from crying. Today I do get to enjoy him, today is not the day to cry.
When I get news like I did yesterday from the doctor, I handle it without any tears or emotion.
Looking back I ask myself, “Was I pretending or being strong?” I don’t know I have the answer to that.
I just know I can listen, keep my head on straight for those few moments, and ask the questions needed at the moment. I can walk to the car with a smile as I say good-bye to the sweet volunteers (normally receiving some sweet gift they have made for Danny and agreeing with them as they comment on how precious he is and how big he’s growing). I say good-bye to security, and the kind valet who are always there helping me with machines, car seats, our bags and reminding me that I’ve not lost my keys… they have them.
That’s normally when it happens.
I sit in the car…. and cry.
I have an 1 1/2 hour drive home and I can get all the tears out so that I can share the details with the children and support them through the journey.
Yesterday, I knew I didn’t have time to cry. I sent a text to my immediate family. Gave them the news and said, “Don’t call me or I’ll cry.”
I had a laptop to pick up from the Apple store a few miles away. I didn’t have time to cry.
But, I had a situation.
It was only Danny and mommy today, I didn’t bring any helpers. Danny had an accident (something he NEVER does) and was now wearing a diaper with no clothes. I couldn’t take him into the Apple store like that!! I also couldn’t leave my laptop 1 1/2 hours away when I desperately needed the information off of it.
I sat in front of the store for at least an hour. Danny was now asleep. I came up with an idea! What if I called Apple and asked for them to send a manager to my car, I could give them my credit card and they could bring out my laptop? After a phone call, a manager from the store came up to the car. She began to explain to me that she couldn’t take my card for security reasons and they wouldn’t be able to assist me. I replied, “Isn’t there some way we can make this work? I live 1 1/2 hours away. I don’t have anyone to help me, and the baby….. and then I started to cry.
I didn’t try to cry. It just happened… without permission.
The manager bent down by the car and said, “Are you okay.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I tried to share, but the tears kept coming. Then I caught myself… this is dumb. I am pouring my heart out to a stranger. I immediately apologized. This is just a laptop. I can always go home and send one of the boys back to get it another day… why am I letting this be the needle that broke the camels back?
I apologized again and said, “It’s just been a hard day.” With tears she replied, “No it’s okay. I’m a mom too.” She then offered, and actually did pay for my repair and bring me my laptop free of charge. I told her I couldn’t let her do that. I had to pay her, but she wouldn’t accept it.
She cried with me, asked what Danny’s name was and promised to be praying for us.
I drove away humbled by the entire experience!
This morning, I’ve thought about how the world would change if we all took time to notice others like this woman did for me yesterday. Wouldn’t that be incredible?
I want God to give me eyes to see like that.
I know this woman taking time to invest in me, if even for that brief moment, will be something I cherish as God’s reminder, that He cares enough to send a stranger to cry with me.
Because there is a time to cry….
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
For every thing there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ec 3:1). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Until our next chat,
Mrs. Joseph Wood