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I was just over at the blog praypower4today where the wise, wise Ms. Ruth wrote a post called Divine Detours, where she related the story of a man who decided to donate his retirement “nest egg” to house homeless women and children. She ended her post with this thought:

Heading into the new year, just a gentle reminder that, no matter who we meet, we’re always talking to God in human form. Sometimes, he even morphs into mold…

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I so appreciated her comment. How I wish the world at large could understand that. What a difference it would make in our attitudes toward each other. In fact, it piggy-backed on the message my son Brandon gave at church yesterday…

A week or so ago a lady came in to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some placemats she’d ordered for Christmas dinner. As it turned out, the store had ordered the wrong ones. She was horribly upset and, since Bran was the one who was in her immediate “line-of-fire,” he was told he ruined her Christmas! He apologized profusely and offered to try and reorder them for her though he wasn’t sure they’d be in in time for Christmas. Finally she told him he’d “already done enough” and stomped off. Brandon’s opinion of her wasn’t very nice as he went back in his office and sat down.

A few minutes later, here she came again. Flipping into survival mode he once more apologized only to have her reply she had come to apologize to HIM for being so nasty. She said she realized it wasn’t his fault, and if he was still willing, would he see if he could reorder them. He invited her into the office and said, “You know, I have a saying. 95% of our customers are great, the other 5% are just having a bad day.” To which she replied, “You don’t know the half of it,” and began to cry.

She told him her son had died two days ago, that it would be her first Christmas without him. Bran said she cried for the longest time. He just listened and put his hand over hers on the desk. She covered his with her other one and they just talked (while his boss kept wandering by wondering what in the world was going on!). When she was finally talked out she said she guessed she just needed someone to listen. And as she finished up her business with the placemats and got ready to leave, she turned to him and said, “God bless you…” 

To say that his experience with her was very humbling would be an understatement. He was still all teary about it when he got home that night. He finished his mini-sermon yesterday by reminding people we are not to judge others, and that we need to remember we never know what kind of hard battles people are fighting.

What wonderful and important advice he and Ruth had to give to their listeners this season…

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Picture Sources:
table and placemats — Dreams, Bucket Lists & The Journey
hands — AccuQuilt