As many of you know, my family moved into a new house this past Spring, and in July we had a huge housewarming party that also coincided with the week of my birthday. Over the course of that evening we had 80-100 friends and family, including a whole slew of children, through our new home, and it was an absolute blast. My husband and I discovered we have an excellent home for entertaining, and have since thrown more parties with more to come.
In preparation for the housewarming party, I made a huge trip to Costco earlier that week.
After checking out with a cart bursting at the seams with things like hot dog buns and managing to remember where I parked, I began unloading all of the random item I had just bought into my car. No, I don't remember how much I spent, probably because I have since blocked it from my memory. Buns, hamburgers, drinks, chips, you name it. If you told me I bought a partridge and a pear tree that day, I would believe you.
As I'm unloading my basket, a woman approached me. She was probably in her late 40's, thin, with a tired look in her eye. Like many of you would in that situation, I imagine, I am waiting for her to say, "Excuse me, could you spare some change?" What she said instead was, "Excuse me. I'm looking to make a few extra bucks. Would you like help loading all of this into your car?" I have to admit I was impressed. Yes, she was looking for money, but was willing to earn it. I could appreciate that, and said "Sure." With the amount of groceries I had, I could have used the help, anyway.
This woman turned out to be really nice, and we chatted for a few minutes as we unloaded the cart. She said, "Looks like you're throwing a big party. Celebrating anything special?" I have to admit I hesitated. In that moment I thought, "I have no idea what this woman's situation is. If she doesn't even have a roof over her head, is it rude of me to talk of a housewarming party?" She seemed genuinely interested, however, so I told her. "My family recently moved into a new house, and we are having a housewarming party this weekend." Much to my surprise, the woman's face broke into a huge smile. "Congratulations!", she said, full of enthusiasm. "Good for you. I hope to be able to celebrate with a party like that myself one day."
I was blown away. This sweet woman, simply looking for a few bucks and may not know where she is sleeping that evening, was happy for me. In the midst of her own situation, whatever that was, she was capable of being happy for someone else's happiness. She reminded me that in my own struggles, I should celebrate when I see others succeed, and I was so grateful that I had met her that day. She showed me joy.
We finished loading my car, and I pulled my wallet out of my purse to give her a few dollars. I opened it and realized that all I had was a bunch of $20 bills. My husband and I were both low on cash, and I had stopped by the bank before coming to Costco. Probably close to $200 in twenties was the only cash I had on me.
In that moment, I realized how blessed I truly am. A new home, a car full of groceries, my family is in a situation where there are days where my wallet is full of $20 bills, and I just had someone help me simply load my car. I handed her one of those bills and told her I hope she got to throw that party soon. The look in her eye as she thanked me spoke volumes. Just as she was capable of being generous with her help and enthusiasm, she was capable of being grateful.
I don't tell you this story so you can tell me I did a good thing that day. That's not the point. I tell you this story so that you will take a moment to see how blessed you are, and how you can be a blessing to others. That woman probably didn't think she had much to give. She would be wrong. Very wrong. She had love and support to give, and she was incredibly generous with it. I was the one who had a car full of groceries and cash in my wallet, and yet I left that encounter so grateful that I had met her.
Be generous. Be grateful. We are all blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
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