This month, I am going to feature a new guest blogger each day. I’ll be sharing their personal stories of giving. Each has experienced great joy in giving just to give – expecting nothing in return.
However, they did get something in return – a beautiful reflection of what they themselves gave. Come soak up some inspiration today with a story of giving by Mary McLaurine (me 🙂
ONE SNOWY NIGHT IN A LITTLE COUNTRY TOWN
A few years ago while living in Western Maryland, otherwise known as “The Land of Never-Ending Snow,” my boyfriend and I were suffering from cabin fever due to the several feet of snow that had fallen. It was New Year’s Eve and we decided to make the 14-mile run down Backbone Mountain to the little town of Oakland to pick up a few things at Walmart.
We put on all our necessary gear, layers of clothes, high snow boots, coats, hats, scarves, gloves and all things warm and braved the elements. We cleaned the truck off and set forth on our exciting New Year’s expedition to Walmart. Little did I know then that I would be blessed with a real-life miracle in that little town.
On the way, he noticed I was a bit melancholy and asked what was wrong. “I’m just missing my kids and so want to see them. I am praying they are kept safe tonight as they venture out among the legions of party goers and drunk drivers. Just worried.” He assured me they were big boys and was sure they would take proper precautions and be just fine.
We arrived safely and commented how strange it was that the snowy parking lot was so empty. It was such an unusual sight to see for Walmart was the town’s “hub” and although it was New Year’s Eve, it was still a bit surprising.
We wandered in and picked up the few items we needed, browsed around a bit and walked up to the check-out counter. There was no line so we put our items on the conveyor belt and I struck up a polite conversation with the young girl ringing us up. “Do you have party plans tonight?” I asked. “No, not tonight,” she said.
I noticed she made no eye contact with me. She was not being rude, but I sensed something was wrong. She couldn’t have been more than 18 if that. She seemed sad. “Well, this was our big New Year’s Eve celebration, coming to town!” I mused. “Honestly, I’m so thankful to be here working. I’d rather be anywhere than home right now,” she said.
Something in the way she said it touched me; I could not for the life of me understand why this beautiful young girl wasn’t looking forward to meeting her friends and celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Although she raised her head, I still hadn’t gotten a good look at her face and more importantly, her eyes. The eyes tell it all, they truly are the window to the soul.
“Well, that doesn’t sound good, are you okay?” I inquired in a semi-concerned voice. “Yes, I’m okay, just don’t want to go home, that’s all.”
She may not have known it then but she had opened the door for someone to give her some indication they cared. She was obviously not ready to talk about it to a total stranger. “I hope your night gets better, darlin’ and be careful when you leave, the roads are nasty!” She assured me she would and put our last bag in the cart.
We walked to the truck and as my boyfriend loaded the few bags we had into the back, something told me I had to go back to her. I told him this; he told me I was being silly. “You don’t even know her, Mary, she’s fine, she said so.”
Nothing was going to stop me from going back in that store – it was a powerful pull on my spirit.
I walked right up to her at her register where she stood alone, lost and teary-eyed. Finally, her eyes lifted and met mine and they confirmed what I had suspected right from the start. She was in great pain, broken and alone.
I wrapped my arms around her and we embraced. She didn’t let go. Anyone watching would have thought we were sisters reuniting after years apart. She needed a spiritual connection to another human being. I whispered to her, “I don’t know what’s wrong and you don’t have to tell me but I want you to know that someone cares about you, someone acknowledges your sadness. I’m giving you my number. If you need it, for anything, a ride, a safe place to stay or just to talk, you call me. My name is Mary.”
Still holding me tightly, she whispered back, “Mary, I have been praying and asking God to send me an angel to help me and let me know He was there and had not abandoned me; you are that angel. Thank you for coming back in and finding me.” She was crying now and I wiped her tears away.
When she looked up again and our eyes met for the second time, they were completely different. Her sadness was gone and she smiled the most beautiful smile I think I’ve ever seen. I hugged her once more and told her I was not kidding about calling should she need anything. I turned and smiled back at her as I slowly walked away. She was watching and still smiling.
Another customer approached and began loading things onto the conveyor belt, and we both knew our moment, our connection, would never be forgotten.
I never got that phone call. I never saw her again. I didn’t feel afraid for her any longer. Somehow she relayed to me in that healing embrace that she would be fine, she had made a decision.
She may remember me as the angel in this story but I remember her as one. I think our souls were a mirror that night, reflecting back what each one of us needed. She needed her faith restored in God and humanity and I needed a moment of complete love and connection with a total stranger to remind me that love knows no bounds.
I was missing my children so much in that moment; my heart ached for them. My encounter with this young cashier at Walmart comforted me, assuring me my boys felt my love just as she did. This young, lovely girl took that sadness from me and filled my heart with joy.
We connected so deeply, not just two strangers, but as two souls, one wounded, one fearful. I have no doubt our meeting was completely orchestrated by God, the Divine, Destiny – the word doesn’t matter. It was right there, right then, with both of us.
It was just one snowy night in a little country town where a miracle took place.