I had all of my kids with me at the grocery store this afternoon; that being said, we were waiting for their kiddie cones (aka bribes) at the ice cream counter before we started our shopping.
Sitting at a table nearby, I noticed an old woman. I felt sad as it seemed to me that she had come to the grocery store, all alone, as her grand outing that day. I then thought, "getting old is the worst."
About an hour later, we had finished our shopping and were heading out to our car when I saw that woman again, this time sitting on a bench by the exit, looking out and seeming to be waiting for someone.
It's amazing to me how quickly about ten excuses to not talk to her popped into my head. I had taken one step past her when "that feeling" came.
"Hello. Are you waiting for somebody? Do you have a ride coming?"
"Ummm, maybe, I'm not sure."
"Did somebody drop you off?"
Nothing in reply but a look of confusion.
"Can I help you? Can I give you a ride home? Do you know where you live?"
"Um sure, ya okay."
Oh dear. This poor woman. I told her to wait right there while I got my children and groceries in the car and I'd come back and pick her up.
As I hurried to the car and was trying to get everyone situated, my kids asked, "Mom, what are you doing? Why did you say you would give her a ride?"
"Because we need to help her. When I walked by her, the Holy Ghost told me to help her. I felt it in my heart."
I was moving as fast as I could to clear off the school papers, water bottles, and socks that were strewn all over the front seat. I must have made my kids nervous because they said, "We're scared." Now, please know that I would never put my children in harms way. This was not a scary situation, we were all very safe.
I reasurred them that everything was perfectly fine and that we were just going to serve this cute lady.
I got her all buckled in and went around to get her walker into the back of the car. I heard her saying hello to the kids and telling them how nice they were to give her a ride. I smiled as a bunch of pinecones spilled out of her walker as I manouvered it around. I could just imagine her gathering her little treasures as she shuffled along the sidewalks.
Off we went. I was relieved to see that she seemed a lot less confused than she originally had, and was then amazed to find out that she had walked about one mile to the grocery store!
"I was just being lazy before I had to walk all the way home. My daughter told me to go to a different place on the corner, but Smith's is more interesting." Ha ha
As we rode, she asked about my kids and I hers. She said she had 8 children, but one was in heaven with her husband. She then got emotional, and through tears told me that two of her children need a lot of prayers right now. I was so touched by her example of a mother's love, so deep, that she'd enlist a stranger, and as many as she could, to pray for her children.
We pulled into her driveway, I made sure all of her pinecone treasures were back in the basket of her walker, then helped her out. As I helped her to the door, she again talked of prayers for her children and brought up her late husband once more. I expressed what a blessing it is to know that she will see him again and live with him for eternity. We said goodbye, in the house she went, and that was that.
With a smile on my face, I walked back to my car. Right then, a distinct impression came to my mind. I heard, "Thank you for taking care of my sweetheart." Words cannot describe the feelings I felt at that moment. My heart felt as though it would overflow, and I knew that this sweet ladie's husband was watching over his sweetheart.
As I got back into my car, my heart was so full and I was grateful to have had that experience with my children. I was then able to talk to them about service, help them recognize the feelings they were feeling, and explain to them that Heavenly Father knows and loves all of us. He uses us to hlep and bless others, just as He sends others to help and bless us. I expressed how proud I was that they helped me and that I knew Heavenly Father was proud of them too. They had done what Jesus would have done.
I asked them, "Are you guys happy?' Without hesitation a resounding "YES!" filled the car. I smiled, silently thanked my Heavenly Father, and said, "Me too."
You know, all of this happened in about 8 minutes. In reality, it was no big deal; giving somebody a ride home, but to me and my children, it was a huge deal. We felt the spirit together and I was able to teach my children more in those 8 minutes than I could have in hours otherwise. What makes me the happiest, is the hope that years from now, when my children get 'that feeling', they will be able to recognize that the spirit is promting them and they will not hesitate to act because they will remember that time 'mom picked up that old woman at the store.'
I keep thinking about what my children said as I was rushing to get the front seat cleared to give this sweet lady a ride home..."We're scared."
Isn't that true for all of us? We push aside those promtings and instincts to help because we're scared. Scared to look dumb, scared to offend, scared to be denied, or scared to feel uncomfortable. Well, I know from experience that the joy, love and pride we will feel when we get over that fear is a gift, and unlike any other joy. I also know, from experience, the awful, regretful, and dissapointed feeling that comes when I haven't followed one of those promptings. I felt it 8 years ago, and to this day I still think about that lost opportunity, but since then, have vowed I would never be scared again. I never want the Lord to overlook me as a tool and servant for him because I'd dropped the ball before. I didn't want Him to think He couldn't trust me with his sacred errands. I want to be the person He knows He can count on to help His children. For when I do, I am the one who is blessed.
When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God