Friday, November 07, 2008

Hit In The Face

Today was an early out day for me. We had parent teacher conferences last night from 4-7 and then this morning from 8-11, so we were "free" to go at 11. Last night, with Braeden and the sitter, is a whole other post, but one five minute period of today is where this one's headed.

Instead of sending Olivia to our school age "day care" place today which I usually have to do when we have teacher's institutes and such, I asked my principal if she could just come with me. I only had one "regular" conference and one phone conference scheduled today. I have six students, had three conferences yesterday, and one is waiting until next week when we have her daughter's annual review. He agreed and Olivia entertained herself watching The Little Princess (not the Shirley Temple version however :( ) for the first time, working in a "workbook" she has, helping a little at the book fair, and reading a new chapter book.

After conferences, we headed up to IKEA (love it!) so I could (finally) get a dresser for my bedroom, and then went to a thrift store. There are three of these that my friend J and I hit when we have time, and we get great buys. I sometimes also pick things up to sell on ebay or at our local consignment store. Last spring I found a pair of Keen sandals for 45 CENTS and sold them as a buy it now on ebay for $20!!! I had a few things I was looking for today, and did find two of them so that was a bonus. On the way back, we stopped at a McDonalds to use the restroom and get a drink for the road.

The thrift shops we visit are in some parts of Chicago which are a little scary for a single white woman to drive through. I wish I didn't feel that way. It makes me sad to see the beautiful old brick homes now run down, many with boarded windows, roofs falling apart, garbage lining fences and littering yards, and some people who look like they could be not so nice to put it one way. Some of the people at the thrift stores can be extremely rude, but some are wonderful and there is one cashier at a store I go to often after Olivia's U of C appointments who recognizes us and we talk as we are checking out. She always comments on how big Olivia's getting! :)

So the McDonalds we stopped at is a bit "scary" I guess. As we walked in to head to the restroom, there was an older woman sitting at a table just inside the door. She was African American, with black and gray hair done in Locs and pulled back into a ponytail with a rubber band that has seen better days. She had an older coat on over her clothes, a large bag for a purse that looked like it had many plastic store type bags inside. In front of her on the table was a water cup. In walking past her, she looked at my eyes and asked for a hamburger.

I love singing about being Jesus' hands and feet - at church, in the car, at home. I love teaching the kids about Jesus' love and forgiveness and understanding. But how often do I actually try to practice that? It's "easy" most of the time, with friends and family. But when it slaps you in the face like this, what do you do??? This is what Jesus did, he met people where they were, be it smelly, or sick, or poor, or full of sin, and he did what he could to meet their needs. I'll tell you what I did, I walked right by her and tried not to look in her eyes. "OK, Thank you," she said, and returned to looking at who could be coming in next.

As Olivia and I went to the restroom. I thought about the things I just posted. I took a good look at myself in the mirror. And a good look at Olivia. Who are we? What am I teaching Olivia by what I do or don't do in situations such as these? Who am I to deny someone of dinner when I have the money to provide it? Money given to me by God. She didn't want money, she wanted food. A basic need. She wanted love and acceptance and help.

We came out of the restroom, I leaned over to her, and said, "We'd like to buy you something to eat. What would you like?" She thanked me profusely, asked for a Cesar salad and a coffee, told the woman which dressings she wanted and how she wanted her chicken (I think she's done this a few times) :) and told the woman next to her that the devil has been on her all day, but that Jesus came through in us. Wow. We were Jesus to her. And she saw and acknowledged that. Wow.

She asked while we were waiting for the food if Olivia was my daughter. I smiled and said yes. She asked if her dad was black. I smiled and said yes. (He is!) lol and in my head I was thinking, and her birth mom is too! :) But I just accepted being her mom. :)

I will think of that woman often. And I will pray for her often.

Olivia asked me questions about her on the way home. She asked if she had money, a car, etc. I said probably not to both questions. She asked how she got to a bathroom if she didn't have a car. :) I said she probably walked or rode a bus or had one to use. She suggested the woman could walk the sidewalks and find "lots of money." Pennies are big time cash to Olivia. :) As we passed a car pull-a-part "field" she said maybe the woman could come there and get a car. :) She has a good heart. I hope I did my part today to help her think of others. I hope I continue on this journey of noticing ways to be Jesus.


Rebecca said...

WOW!!! That was amazing!

Feels great doesnt it! I had tears in my eyes reading about your kindness, just as I have the times I have done the same. We live in abundance, even when we dont think we do, and it feels so good to share some of our joy with others! Lovely story, thanks! :)

Barb said...

Good for you! Reaching out to offer kindness is so much harder than walking by for some silly reason. I think you taught your daughter a wonderful lesson!


maureen said...

That was so humbling. I cried as I read your post. My oldest daughter was 5 when she came to live with me and now she is 9. When we see something on the TV or talk about the homeless at church she gets really wide-eyed and sometimes cries. She is worried that her birth mother may still be homeless and won't have enough to eat or a place to sleep.

I never know what to say, I try to comfort her, but honestly, I can't lie to her and for all I know her birth mom may be homeless still. It is good to show your children how to give a little kindness to others. I want to teach my girls to be safe, but not apethetic.


I'm so glad you had the opportunity to go back and help her. Once, there was a man asking for food at an interection. After I drove away, I remember I had a lunch bag right next to me on the seat. I could have easily tossed the whole thing out the window.

But I was swept away in the rush of life.

May God allow me more opportunities to be his hands and feet.


You brought tears to my eyes. God bless you. "When you do for the least of these, you do for Me."

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

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