The kindness of Strangers

This past week has been, well, a week.  You know the type.  Where you reach the weekend and know that 2 days will not be adequate recovery time unless you had full access to a spa resort, scheduled massages, do not disturb signs on the doors, kiddos otherwise occupied, a good book, and limitless Pandora (station yet to be determined).

Kyle has been approved for overtime, which is such a rarity that it literally means that there isn’t really an option, you will be working a minimum of 20 extra onto your already tiring week.  In addition, we had friends in town that were borrowing one of our cars so we were playing an interesting balancing act with extra work hours, kiddos schedules, and life with one car (trust me, I realize how spoiled this make me sound.  We are so abundantly blessed).

ANYWAY (enough back story already), Kyle was biking to work so I could have use of the car and I took advantage of his crazy hours to go up and visit my parents for a couple days.  While the visit with my parents was absolutely wonderful, my 2 1/2 year old has decided to start acting like a toddler (how uncouth of her, I know!).  For anyone that needs an explanation, this means lots of “no’s.”  So by the time I left, I was still exhausted.  Seeking just a little pick me up, I swung into the Wendy’s settled just before the highway to go home.

Swinging through the drive-through as to minimize the movement and craziness of children in a restaurant (and because I was literally ordering a single item).  The woman working asked me to wait (and wait….and wait…not sure what was taking so long to simply take my order), then I was able to place my single order of a medium Coke.  That’s it.

I pulled around and a kind looking older woman smiles at me as I pull up to the window.  “Did you say diet?” 

No. Regular.

She smiled, held up her finger in the universal “just a sec” and walked away to fix my order.  

I must have had that ragged, “oh my goodness, I’m about to drive on the interstate with little kids in the back seat by myself” crazed look going on because she handed me my drink and then proceeded to hand me two (not one, but 2) toys from their kids meals.  She did it all with a gentle unassuming smile and southern hospitality.

I was humbled.  I had been frustrated to wait when I was trying to get on the road and home as quickly as possible (did I mention that we’ve been potty training the past couple weeks as well and this trip was the longest I was testing my toddler in the car.  She did amazingly well, by the way).  I was worn out by the week and it was only half way over.  I was anxious and overwhelmed.  And this woman, at 10:00 in the morning, noticed.  She was kind and giving.  

It is these moments that I am eternally grateful that I know where kindness resonates from, where it originated.  Jesus.  The love and kindness and patience that abounds when those around you are being snappy and condescending.  The gentleness that seems so out of place in a society that applauds and rewards those who stomp all over the “lesser man.”

I don’t have any way of knowing if this wonderful lady actually knows Jesus, but I do know that Jesus used her kindness to remind me that he is with me.  That this craziness is a season and that through him I can find peace, even when my 11 month old decided that screaming (the high pitched you’d think that she had her finger slammed in the door scream) is the best way of communicating, especially in the car.  He is with me and guiding me through this.  And he has placed angels along my way to encourage me as I sojourn to my next challenge.

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