I was awake this morning much too early for a Saturday. But, that often happens to me, and as I usually do, I went straight to my craft room. I made a couple of quick cards, finished mounting a couple of wall hangings, and then gathered my things to make my run to the post office. Now, on Saturdays I know better than to go early. I usually wait until about 1:30, 1/2 hour before they close, because that’s when it’s least busy. But, we have plans later this morning with some friends, so I decided to get my to do list checked off early.
Now, if you’ve never been here, you might not understand what a strange creature this Virginia Beach is. We are 2 miles from the most beautiful oceanfront and boardwalk I have ever experienced. It is full of life with food and music and festivals almost all of the time. There are very wealthy people that live here, lots and lots of military, and then there are a few very unfortunate souls. I’m from a very rural upbringing, so I’m used to middle of the road blue collared workers and farmers surrounding me. This – this is a whole other beast. The roads are jammed packed, even at eight o’clock in the morning, with people coming and going about to the amazing number of attractions that await them in the area.
The local post office is about 4 blocks away, across a major intersection. I’m there literally every Saturday, thanks to the blessings I’ve been receiving with O’Seven 11 Creations. The postal workers and I are on a first name basis. The lines are long and atrocious, though, so it’s still my least favorite place to go.
Apparently – and I didn’t know this until today – the post office doesn’t open until 9 am on Saturdays. So, after unloading everything and walking through the doors to find it was closed still, I loaded my car back up. But, it’s what happened in between those moments that changed my mindset.
As I was walking in, a beautiful and frail older woman sitting next to the door on a pillow placed perfectly square in the middle of a cement block said hello to me. I thought almost nothing of it, said hello back, and walked through the door. As I walked back out, she smiled at me, told me to enjoy the sunshine on this beautiful Saturday, and took a sip of her coffee. I placed everything back in the car and decided to walk over to Kmart to kill some time and surprise my husband with apple fritters for breakfast.
And then it hit me. That woman was sitting there because she has no other place to sit. The cart next to her was filled with EVERY ONE of her worldly belongings – and it was nearly empty. She had a cup of coffee – the small cup from McDonalds – which I’ve seen the local restaurant hand to other homeless for free. So, I asked her if she had eaten breakfast. She smiled, tipped her cup to me, and said, “This is great coffee.” I asked her if she’d had any food, and she looked wide eyed at me and replied, “No ma’am. Not for a few days.”
WHAT? She hadn’t eaten in a few days. DAYS. My stomach growls after about 5 hours of no food. I was … heartbroken. Immediately.
After asking her what her favorite kind of donut was, I gathered two of them at the Kmart along with a couple of napkins, and walked them over to her.
And she cried. Bawling. Tears flowing down her face. No apologies for her display of emotion. No words to thank me. And I needed none, because all I could think was to thank her for teaching me such an invaluable lesson.
We are not wealthy. In fact, most military men and women live at or below poverty level. We often live pay check to pay check. But we eat every day. And there’s a roof over my head. And my daughter wears new clothes when needed. Did I mention we eat EVERY day?
We are a BLESSED family – for more than just the material things I listed off – but sometimes it’s easy to forget it. I would like a new pair of jeans, our townhouse is too small, and we are too far away from family to be able to afford to visit most of the time. But, I have what I need, and that’s the important thing.
My dad taught me that people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care. Could I have sat down and taught her about getting her life back on track, about finding a purpose in life rather than living out of a shopping cart? Yes, I could, and I have enough knowledge to probably jump start her life. But, would she have listened? Not over the roaring of her stomach.
Be the kind of person you want the world to be. And, count your blessings, even the smallest of them.