Her movements were slow and awkward ,and she as she spoke it was obvious she had to choose her words carefully. She searched through the remnants of fabric as I waited impatiently for my chance to fill my cart.
After all, I had a purpose. I was buying fabric for prayer blankets for our church women to make and give to people in crisis. With this lofty purpose in mind and a holier-than-thou attitude I smiled sweetly as she turned continued her search.
My impatience continued to grow as she picked through each rolled cut of fabric and thoughtfully stared at each piece. Her shopping cart was almost overflowing with fabric.
I wondered what in the world someone like her could want with so much fabric. I found myself thinking of a bag lady who pushed her cart about the town, picking through garbage and filling her push cart with anything she thought she might be able to use to survive.
She turned to me then and said, “Do you understand the pricing on these? Take half off and then half off again. It makes these a very good deal. My husband is going to give me a hard time. I buy so much of this when it’s on sale.”
She proceeded to explain. “I buy this fabric and make it into blankets to give to Bridges.”
I happened to know that Bridges is a nonprofit organization that serves low-income families in the inner city.
I started to feel uncomfortable. Who was this woman that I had happened to meet on this morning when time was at a premium? Who was this woman I had judged to be not quite my “equal.”
“I have trouble getting my hands to work well enough to cut the fringes on the blankets so I invite a group of my friends to my house and make them dinner. We talk and cut and make blankets and pray.”
“I hope I left enough fabric for your group. It’s been nice to talk to you.” And she continued on her way.
As I watched her limp away, dragging one foot and pushing a full cart, I knew I’d learned another of life’s lessons. This dedicated lady was beautiful inside, healthy and whole with her eyes on God; doing His work on earth.
She could have said, “Poor me, it’s such an effort to shop and I have such a tough life, I just think the world owes me something.” Instead she was saying, “I can do something for the world.”
My first impression was one hundred percent wrong. The person inside the flawed body was a beautiful person.
I wondered what she thought of me. I sensed she saw through my self-importance. Her time was just as important as mine, yet she took precious minutes to explain the pricing to me and give me tips on blanket making.
I’ll probably never see her again, yet she left an indelible mark on my soul. The “blanket lady” showed me God at the center of her soul. She’ll never know how she touched me and changed me.
I pray that I have learned to look deeper before I judge people. I pray that what people see when they look at me is a good person on the outside with a good person inside.
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