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Perspective is Something Beautiful

December 2, 2015

As I was standing around with several others at Einstein Bros this morning waiting for my bagel, I noticed a woman standing in line waiting to order. She was fairly nondescript. Truth be told when she first walked past me to get to the line I assumed she was a young man. She was fairly small statured wearing black pants and a black hoodie with the hood up covering her hair and part of her face. I only saw her from the back initially.

The longer I stood there waiting, I noticed others who ordered after me were getting impatient. I heard sighs, feet tapping, weight shifting, more sighs. It seemed to be taking longer than normal, but I had my coffee. It was warm inside. I was okay waiting. And I then I saw the woman waiting to order. She was looking around the restaurant just smiling. She looked up at the ceiling and smiled. She looked at other tables and smiled. She looked at the people working and just kept smiling.

Initially my cynical side thought maybe she was homeless and suffering from some mental health issues. How sad is that? The woman was looking around smiling and I automatically assumed something was wrong with her. Man, talk about eye opening. I watched her order. The workers seemed to recognize her. They were all pleasant to her.

She paid for her bagels and then came over near where I was standing still waiting. She had a McDonald’s coffee cup that she was refilling with Einstein Bros coffee. A small child, probably about three years old, ran past us following her mom. I smiled at the enthusiasm of the pajama-clad little one who was rocking her pink pajamas with brown polka dots and cowboy boots. The smiling woman in black caught my eye and said, “Such a cutie!”

I agreed that the little girl was adorable and at a really fun age as far as little people go. The woman in black agreed and told me she had 13 grandkids ranging in age from 9 months to 19 years old. I asked if she saw them often and she said yes. We talked about how blessed she was with family.

Then she went on to show me her bandaged arm. She told me she was has been on dialysis for 7 years. I must have had a sympathetic look on my face, for she immediately said, “Don’t feel sorry for me, it’s keeping me alive!”

We talked some more about her dialysis and she shared that she was “at the top of the list” for a kidney transplant. That twice she had received “the call,” and twice there was something wrong that prevented her surgery. Again she said, “It’s okay! I’m still alive!”

Now I am a faithful person. I am a praying person, but I admit that one of my struggles is often sharing my faith. The Husband and kids will shout their faith from the mountain tops, but I am much more reserved. I prefer to be the behind the scenes person. I make sure that things get done without sharing too much. Yes, I know that this is disobedience to God. It’s something I need to work on daily.

So I guess I was channeling my family when I grabbed her hand and asked if I could pray for her. She got a little teary-eyed and smiled an even bigger smile and said, “Yes, thank you!” Then she grabbed me and hugged me.

She said that she never feels sorry for herself and likes to share her story with people to give them some perspective. She said that often no matter what people are feeling sorry for themselves about, she can show them it could be worse. Not that she really has it that bad, she explained. “Besides,” she added, “Anyone of us could walk out the door and that could be it. We could be gone!” With that she gave me another hug and walked out.

Because we just never know when our time is up, please hug someone today. Share a smile. Tell someone you love them. And say a prayer for my new friend Chandra and anyone else that you know is struggling with something. Pray for peace. Pray for grace. Pray for joy no matter the circumstances.


When I got in the car this song was on, it seemed fitting for the encounter.

{Steven Curtis Chapman is one of my all-time favorites!}


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