Of Service, in a Department Store

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, November 13, 2014

LOVE one another John 13-34

Of Service, in a Department Store

I helped out today. Volunteering in a department store. My church is participating in Carson’s Community Days, this Friday and Saturday. By participating, the church sold coupon books. The coupons are designated as “our” coupons. So when people who bought books from St. Luke’s Church give the cashier at the register “our” coupons, they are credited to “our” account. (At least, that was the way the process was explained to me. I may not have it quite right.)

So, I spent two hours yesterday, and two hours today greeting people at one of the main entrances in Carson’s. Asking whether anyone would like to purchase the books to use tomorrow or Saturday. I had some really interesting interactions, too!

I assisted one senior who was looking for a small cart. (Yes, Carson’s has small shopping carts, in a little corral by the door.) She was really downhearted at not finding a cart. I could see it in her face and hear it in her sigh of frustration and regret.

In my friendly, open manner, I came up to her. I asked her whether she might be able to use one of the metal strollers. “I know it’s more of a stroller, but it’s heavy duty. And it can carry packages and bags, too.” The senior looked at the black metal stroller assessingly, and then said she thought she would take it. About forty-five minutes later, the senior returned. Pushing the stroller with several bags in it.

I smiled at her. “I see you found some things today. How did the stroller work for you?”

“Oh, very well. Thank you for suggesting it.” I wished her well as she went out the door to her car.

Unexpectedly, I also met a wonderful woman, a retired employee I had known while she was working at a care center nearby. Such a caring, giving woman! It was marvelous to run into her again. Truly. She and I had a brief opportunity to talk together. And it was not just superficial. We had some meaningful, true conversation. Deep sharing. It is so amazing when that sort of thing is able to happen.

And those are just two of the wonderful interactions I had today. This was yet another situation when I saw God’s hand at work. When I put myself out there, give God the opportunity—“here I am. Use me. Send me.” God can do marvelous things.


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Kindness to a Senior

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, August 11, 2014

micah 6-8 framed

Kindness to a Senior

I don’t often go into department stores. It’s not that I don’t like shopping. (I do!) But, I try to find what I need and can use at resale shops (first) and outlets (second). And, I am sincerely trying to reduce what our family purchases. We live in a small condominium, and it’s filled with stuff as it is. We do not need more stuff. (My husband heartily agrees.)

As I posted yesterday, my daughter and I went to a mall we do not ordinarily go to. We also went to a bona fide department store to purchase some things to take to college. As we came down the escalator from the second floor to the first, I saw a frail-looking senior sitting in a small, fold-up wheelchair. She was about twelve feet from the bottom of the escalator, near the corner of the jewelry counter.

I am still thinking about her, today. My conversation with her stuck in my mind, and I keep playing our brief interaction over and over. So, I thought I would blog about it today.

My daughter and I rode down the escalator, my daughter about two or three escalator steps ahead of me. I saw the senior from a distance, as I descended. She caught my eye. Sitting still, waiting patiently, while everyone else in my eyesight seemed to be busy—moving, doing, going, bustling around. I initially approached her because her thin knit shawl was all bunched up, lying in the crooks of her elbows. The position of the shawl looked uncomfortable. Plus, there was no one accompanying her. At least, not anywhere nearby.

I slowed my steps as I stepped off the escalator and turned her way. Yes, an aged senior, for sure. But one who was quick on the uptake. “Good afternoon, “ I said, stooping slightly. (That way, I could look at her face more directly, instead of towering over her.) “I saw your shawl. Are you comfortable with it where it is, right now? Or could I help you rearrange it?”

“Oh, aren’t you sweet. No, my shawl is fine where it is.” We exchanged smiles. She panned the area, as best she could. Her head was pitched slightly forward, and even in the wheelchair, her shoulders were stooped. “Are you looking for someone?” I asked. She transferred her gaze to me, trying to look up, in my face. “I don’t see my family. They’ve gone, I suppose.” She sounded a bit wistful, but still patiently waiting. “Oh.” I smiled again. My daughter was fast disappearing, down the aisle of the store. I quickly sent a glance at her, and then looked back at the senior.

“Bye,” the elderly woman said. She raised her hand, and almost smiled at me. I gave her one of my bright, friendly smiles in return, and wished her well. I hurried, and caught up with my daughter, who rolled her eyes at me for stopping to talk with the elderly woman in the wheelchair.

As I continue to reflect on this brief meeting, I can’t help but think of Micah 6:8, my verse for the month of August. The questions that come to my mind are: how can I live justly? To whom do I show mercy? How may I walk lovingly with my God? God willing, my interaction with this dear senior provided an example of how to fulfill this verse. Please God, help me live in this just, merciful, loving way.


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Opening Up, Confiding, and—That’s It.

A Year of Being Kind blog –Sunday, June 15, 2014

SERVE love serve Gal 5-13

Opening Up, Confiding, and—That’s It.

Ever have someone open up to you? And, tell you some stuff that is either really private, or particularly personal? Or really important?

From time to time, that happens to me. Sometimes, out of the clear blue sky. I can be minding my own business, standing in line at the grocery store, and someone will turn to me. That person will tell me intimate details of their lives, their emotions, their resentment or disgruntlement or surprise. Or pleasure or pride or caring.

Tonight was no exception. Tonight, after going to a coffee place to meet some friends, I decided to swing by a large, cut-rate department store that had a sizable food component. I needed to pick up a few things before I went home. I got almost everything I needed. (When I got home, I realized I had forgotten two things I’d intended to get. Aw, shucks! I did not have two items I particularly wanted . . . but that is fodder for another blog post.)

As I got in the check out line, I patiently waited my turn. (I particularly don’t like those self-check out lanes, since by using them the stores eliminate checkers and cashiers. Cashiers actually want lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, and they can get sick. Even want time off. Imagine! The nerve of those silly human beings!)

When I came up to the young cashier, I could tell she was frazzled. Even though she still greeted me, I could see she was distracted. So, I tried to be especially friendly and kind. I started—humorously—asking whether the computerized check out system was working properly. (I had heard that it was not, yesterday. And this computer snafu was nationwide!)

The cashier and I had a laugh about it. She immediately engaged with me, telling me the all-kind-of troubles she had and has with the computer. And the difficulties she has with her nose-in-the-air, fancy pants family. I listened, nodding my head and making encouraging words and noises.

And then—as suddenly as the cashier had begun? She stopped.

I’m used to people unburdening themselves to me by now. I was just amused that this young lady started and stopped so quickly. Like turning a faucet on and off. But was I kind? Helpful? Did I try to be of service? I think so, God. In fact, I know so. Thanks for putting me in the place of service tonight.


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