I'd been crying as I pulled into the CVS parking lot. I took a moment to collect myself, wiped off the streaking mascara and headed toward the door. Sitting directly to the side was Marie, an African-American lady in her mid to late 50's. She had a bandana tied low on her forehead and a colorful crocheted hat over it. She had long, waste length multicolored braids. She'd been hired to collect money for a homeless shelter & sat with her wooden box and sign. As I approached, she grinned, a sparsely toothed smile, and said, "Oh, I love your hair!" I smiled and said, "Thank you. I'll be donating on my way out." She wasn't going to let me off that easy. She asked, "Who does your hair?" "I do," I replied, "I went to cosmetology school when I was younger so I don't ever like to pay anyone else when I know how cheap I can do it myself."
"OH GIRL, you do good work," she shouted. "Now let me show you something," she leaned towards me and whispered, "I aint never showed anybody." Lifting the corner of her hat, her hair was only an inch long, with the braids woven into a few spots to give the appearance of long hair. "It's all broken off & I'm so ashamed. When I get some money, I'm gonna get it all fixed up nice, ya know. I don't know why I just showed ya and told ya that," she smiled, adding, "My name's Marie, what's yours?" "Lisa and it's nice to meet you Marie." I said as I smiled. "Lisa, can I ask ya for a favor...would you be so kind as to get me a couple of Advil when you go into the store?" Marie said. "Of course," I said. "God, bless ya sista, I have a terrible headache and have been sick," she gratefully replied. "No problem, we're sister's in Christ and glad I can help you," I told her as I headed inside.
I immediately scanned my discount card & surprisingly received a coupon for Advil, half off! I decided to get her some snacks, a Gatorade and a bottle of Omega 3 vitamins (knowing how much they help your health.) I paid and went out and handed her the bag. She said, "I was thinking about what ya said when ya went in the store, and it's true, we are sista's in Christ and you just blessed me. Where ya headed today?" The tears began to well up as I told her I was on my way to drive straight through to Utah to see my dad who was very sick with lung & brain cancer, and didn't have long to live. With true concern she said, "You're driving all that way by yourself? Let me give ya a hug sista."
As I leaned in to be hugged and comforted by Marie, she began to pray for me. She prayed for a safe journey, for the Lord's protection, for peace and that I'd make it in time. She prayed that Christ's Love would overflow in my life and for my dad. There we were, two people from completely different walks of life, Marie had obviously dealt with homelessness, and drug or alcohol addictions, and yet, she cared for me. She reached out to me in my hurt and brokenness. I asked if I could then pray for her. We stood hugging & praying right in front of CVS. People passed by but for me time stood still. I was given a comforting gift, the loving kindness of a stranger. I in turn was able to be used to bless her also. Two sisters in Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit as we ministered to each others hurt and brokenness. We were brought together through the Love of Jesus Christ; a Love that penetrates all boundaries, and fills the emptiness with comfort.
As I headed toward my car, Marie shouted and waved, "I love ya sista and I'll see ya soon!"
"For the son of man came to seek and save what was lost."
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."John 3:8
Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."John 5:17
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."