Wednesday, February 4, 2009
So I met a woman there at this cute corner shop. She appeared to be in her early forties, and her smile was so contagious, I'd have never suspected she was wrestling with sadness. She greeted me with a friendly handshake, introducing herself by first name the moment I entered.
As I wandered around the shop, I saw her handing out the gift of time, lingering over customers as if each person were the only one there. One lady had a question about a broken pendant, and she showed her how to fix it. Another admitted to knowing zero about jewelry crafting. The shopkeeper encouraged her with, "Everyone starts somewhere. Let me see if I can teach you something simple to begin with." And she did.
When it was my turn to check out, we chatted about gardening and life and family and beading. In a brief few minutes, I learned that she'd lost her dad and her best friend all in the same week, just last month. I shared how I'd lost both parents within a couple of years, and how it sent my life into a tailspin as I worked through my grief.
As I drove home with my package of pretty handpainted beads, I felt as though I'd made a new friend--an unexpected sparkle that God had dropped into my day. And with that sparkle came a thought that has stuck with me:
Everyone carries a load of secret Stuff.
It's true, you know. Too often people go about their day, shouldering a secret burden so as not to dampen someone else's mood. We've all been there, haven't we? We become experts at wearing a happy face and we greet each other as if we're fine, just fine. And when we hear the same from people around us, we accept their words at face value.
Once in a while, though, we experience an invitation to step into someone's real world. That's what happened in that little bead shop on the corner, and I left feeling as if I'd been handed a rare gift.
It's a beautiful thing when we're the target of someone's trust. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every day held a sparkle like that?
*Image via Wikipedia