My mother heard a voice, a weak and shaky voice, calling out to her in the parking lot.
Mom was walking out of the grocery store with two plastic bags of ice-cream treats. It was a summer day, and the sun puddled hot on that Minnesota parking lot, where the smell of spruce and asphalt mingled in the muggy air. And somewhere a small voice kept calling to my mom: Come here. Please? Could you come here?
The voice. It came from an old, white station wagon parked by the front door. The passenger window was rolled down, and the woman inside was old, frail — not more than 100 pounds. She was alone.
“Are you talking to me?” Mom paused a few feet away, looking around to see if someone else was being summoned. But no, it was my mother being called over. The woman, with a head crowned in silver strands, reached one small, bony hand out of the station-wagon window and motioned to my mother.
Obediently, Mom walked to the station wagon, then leaned her head inside, smiling.
“How can I help you?” Mom asked the stranger.
The woman sat hunched in the passenger seat. Her small frame bent into a curve, weighed down by the years and burdens of a life lived long on this planet. The old woman wanted just one thing of my mother: “Would you give me something to hold? I don’t have anything to hold and I want something that I can call my own.”
Mom’s mind raced. She wished she had a pocket stone or one of the Beanie Babies that she used to keep in the trunk of car — small, stuffed gifts for the grandchildren when they came to visit.
But she had nothing, except a half-gallon of vanilla and two boxes of ice-cream sandwiches. Mom stood stock-still by that station wagon, burdened by her inability to do one small thing for a woman with a simple need. Mom told the woman she had nothing for her, then apologized.
But before she could walk away, the woman replied: “Well, I could hold your hands.”
And don’t we all need something to hold onto? This life presses down hard. This world is a frazzled, harried, got-to-get-it-done world. In the rush, everything can feel like it’s slipping through our fingers. And because we’re afraid of what might melt, we can’t open our clenched fists and offer one small thing to someone in need. We curl our fists into tight, scared balls.
With hands cinched, we can do nothing … not even one small thing.
What might we risk if we empty our hands?
Mom decided to find out.
She set down those bags of ice cream on the hot pavement of that grocery-store parking lot. She opened her fists and reached two empty hands into the car to find the two empty hands of a stranger, and this was one small act of emptying and refilling.
They held hands, and the woman smiled. For the next eight minutes, they stood that way – two human beings with their hands cupped together, while ice cream melted in grocery sacks.
So, what’s your Story? A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.
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Your words matter to God. They matter to people. And they matter to me!
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