I noticed him in the parking lot. I had stopped for a quick errand on my to church and was in a bit of a hurry. He had already found a full-size shopping cart and was pushing it across the parking lot. He seemed to be in a hurry as well. Perhaps, just very focused. He was older, dishelved, and his too large sneakers made his gait a bit awkward. Once we were in the store, we went opposite directions as I rushed to grab my two items. But we ended up side by side at the check-out. His full-size cart held a gallon of milk and five foot-long thin sticks of beef jerky.
I have to admit, my first thought was something along the lines of “a full-size cart from across the entire parking lot for that?!?” Sad, I know. (My critical spirit never can seem to keep silent.) But as the clerk bagged my things, I began to wonder if that was his dinner. Was he going home to a meal of beef jerky sticks? Maybe he had stopped for a gallon of milk and simply grabbed a few of his favorite snacks. I have no idea. He put his things back in the cart and left. Was he using the large cart as a walking aid? Again, I don’t know. But that gallon milk and sticks of jerky nagged at me. My heart wanted to know his story.
We all have a story. The folks we notice at the grocery store. And even the ones we don’t. Each senior now living at the assisted living center. All the new ladies I’m meeting at Bible study each week. My neighbors. The servers at lunch and the obviously overtired hostess at dinner. The young woman walking the neighborhood to endorse her political candidate that I am too quick to dismiss.
STOP…and my take away. Everyone does have a story. If we are going to live people-centered lives or we ever hope to connect with people, meet them where they are and have any hope of sharing Christ with them, we need to hear their stories. Yes, it takes time and sometimes it takes sacrifice on our part but the reward is beautiful. It also can be eternal.
This week’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is (can you guess?) STORY. You can find everyone’s thoughts on STORY here. Funny how quickly five minutes speeds by when you are trying to tell a story!