Just as freedom and captivity crossed at the intersection a few days ago…abundance and need passed each other at the grocery store today.
I was studying the cans of food preparing for a girlfriends’ camping trip this weekend when I heard the little voice.
“Grandpa, why do some people have hundreds of food at home and then still buy more hundreds of food?”
Time stood still for me as I forgot what I was looking for and instead stole a glance to where I’d heard the cheerfully innocent voice.
It belonged to a little boy, about six or seven, with circles under his sparkly eyes and a youthful energy in his skinny frame.
His “grandpa,” stood near him, looking worn and in need of a haircut and shave, but with a kind face. And bent over a child-size wheelchair carrying the little boy’s sister.
The boy’s question echoed in my mind and something inside of me instinctively knew they were in need. Why else would he look with wonder at the abundance of others?
I continued through the aisles, distracted by my thoughts and keeping an eye on the family. A middle-aged woman with them was carefully filling the cart while the man kept the children occupied.
I saw the face of the wheelchair-bound girl. Something was wrong. Her dark bluish-purple lips. The pale face. The sadness and maturity in her eyes.
My heart was being tugged.
All sorts of arguments formed in my mind. He might be offended if I tried to help. Perhaps they misused their money. What would I say anyway? How would I approach?
Lord, give me an opportunity to help them.
And in one of those rare, clear-headed instances, I knew He would not give me an ‘opportunity.’ Because He wanted me to step out in faith—simply seeing them was the opportunity.
So I awkwardly approached them.
And said how sweet their kids had been, how I’d enjoyed watching them and could I buy them a treat?
My heart officially melted in the freezer aisle when I saw their eager faces.
And the beauty in that older man’s face! His scruffiness and not-so-good-smellingness couldn’t hide his love and tenderness for these children as we talked in that aisle. About the little girl’s many medical problems. About what kind of ice cream the boy liked (vanilla! With all those amazing choices, he wanted vanilla!). About the popsicles the girl could eat—because usually she was fed through a feeding tube. About nurses and doctors and hospitals and diagnoses (I was in my scrubs). About a possible surgery for her that could either help her…or take her life.
I cried on the way home, mascara bleeding into my eyes as I thought about this little girl who might not grow old enough to wear mascara. It was heartbreaking. But there was more to it than that. Somehow, in giving the gift, I was given one in return.
Abundance and Need chatted in the grocery store, yet when I think about the love that flourished in this family despite incredible trials…
I’m not really sure anymore which one of us was in need and which one had abundance.