Friday, June 29, 2012

Blight to Blessing

I guess you'd call it a blighted neighborhood.  I don't usually go to yard sales in this area but there weren't many listed today and I'm determined to do all I can to get to that goal of 5000 more stuffed animals for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes by June 30th (that would be tomorrow).

I was blessed this morning by finding 90 animals at a rummage sale.  Then I stopped for a haircut and when my regular barber was busy his niece cut my hair and told me she has a bin of Beanie Babies she's willing to donate.  Blessed again.

So I didn't have many expectations when I pulled up in front of the house on East 8th St. with the peeling paint and the rotting window trim.  I said a silent prayer that somehow I could bless the owner as I focused on the gorgeous hydrangea bush in front of the ramshackle house.

I wound my way across the narrow patch of dry grass to the back yard where the sale was set up.  I didn't see any stuffed animals but they had a box with several pairs of new soccer shoes.  The woman explained she'd bought them for her grandsons and then they couldn't use them.

I told her about Operation Christmas Child and explained how many of these children didn't have shoes.  "Well, then, you can have whatever you want for $4.00 a pair.  They cost $20.00 new."  Normally I don't pay even $4.00 for a shoebox item but I carefully picked out the four pairs and paid her for them.  She was so happy to help.

As I got ready to leave I complimented her on the gorgeous hydrangea bush.  She lit up and spent a few minutes carefully detailing the process she follows to make the bush thrive.  I told her that I generally kill plants but that I was blessed just to look at her bush.

"Do you want me to cut some for you?" she offered.  I told her that would truly bless me and she answered, "Well, you bless other people, so you should be blessed."  She disappeared into the house and returned with scissors and a length of wet paper towels.

I would have been happy with a couple of stems but she continued to carefully cut and choose the fullest blossoms.  "Wow, you just can't stop giving," I said, and she replied, "No, I can't stop giving because God's given so much to me."

With my treasured bouquet in hand, I thanked her again for blessing me and gave her a hug.

As I walked over the cracked sidewalk to my car I thought of how I prayed that I'd be able to bless her.  God, forgive me for my pride and thank you for using her to bless me.

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