I was at Krispy Kreme just after Christmas, picking up a couple dozen HOT ONES for a group of men that I was going to build a stage with this bright warm winter Saturday. While I was waiting for my boxes to be prepared, a young lady steps up and gets in line. I see in her hand that she carries a gift certificate to the Kreme. And, because I have this uncanny grasp on the banal and obvious, and the inability to resist saying it out loud when it hits me, I say "get'n some free doughnuts today are we?". She replied yes, with a somewhat forced smile. She said her children had given it to her for Christmas and informed me she was a teacher. She said she was looking so forward to getting back to school to be with her children. I introduced myself and asked her name. We then briefly identified a few teachers we knew in common. Then her order was up and she presented her gift certificate and turned for the door. I thanked her for being a teacher and said "have a great day Ms. _______".
But her name sounded familiar to me. So when I got in the car, I did a quick FaceBook search and that is when it hit me. Her husband had just passed away a few days before Christmas. The lady's life was turned upside down, no telling what levels of emotional pain, fear and anger at God she was going through. I sat in my car, cut to the core. "Thanks for being a teacher"? "Have a great day"? Is that the best I could do? What would I say now, to this beautiful lady and hurting lady? "I know it hurts, let your friends love on you, just call them on the phone and have them all come over at the same time and sit all around you on the bed and hold you, rub you, brush your hair, cry, hug and cry some more"? I would have reached out to hug her myself. I may have even held her and cried with her, having just recently lost someone I loved very much just a few weeks earlier. But I was so reminded how very important it is to pay attention. PAY ATTENTION! and always be ready to share an encouraging word. Look people in the eyes and try to look into the depths of their soul. Look past the things that would normally push you away and always try to walk away from any interaction with having left a positive deposit in someone's soul (or their love bucket if that works for you). A kind word of encouragement, a compliment, a hug. It is not that hard really is it?
So, I got my 10% discount on my Krispy Kremes because, hey, if you are over 50 the Kreme takes care of you. And, I got a heck of a challenge and a lesson that I hope has changed me. I'm sorry I did not hug you ma'am, I am sorry that I did not realize who you were before you got away. But if I could send you a hundred puppy swarms like this, I would.
Billy Hill here, I like it neat.