Yesterday my three-year-old and I headed to the local home improvement store to purchase flowers and soil for our garden. Since it was just she and I, we took our time enjoying the beauty of everything in bloom and filling our wagon with pots and two very large bags of garden soil.
On the way to the car, I was pulling the fully loaded wagon with one hand and holding tightly to her with the other, my eyes scoping out the parking lot for potential dangers as always. I seem to scope out parking lots and other places for hidden threats without really thinking about it. It seems that too often the local news is full of stories of people mugged in parking lots in broad daylight, homes robbed during waking hours, and shootings in and around restaurants just down the road.
But on this day, a glimmer of hope.
I left the wagon near the back of our small suv as I helped my little person into her car seat when I hear a man from the back of my vehicle say, "Excuse me, ma'am. Can I help you put these bags into your car?"
Now my first thought was, "Help me, Lord."
My initial response is generally to say no to any stranger because I have learned that trusting strangers can be hazardous. So I looked up from buckling the car seat and responded, "Ya know, I think I can probably handle it," and then immediately followed with, "but that would just be incredibly kind. Let me finish buckling her."
As I walked toward the back of the car to open it, I was still praying, still cautious, wondering what expectation he might have. As he leaned over to lift the heavy bags, I said, "Ya know, folks just don't seem to be so kind anymore. Thank you very much."
His response, "You're welcome. You have a nice day."
He wasn't overly friendly or chatty. He had no expectation. He was simply kind.
In a world that is increasingly violent and uncaring, a simple kindness reminded me that love always hopes.