I cried with a stranger in the Kroger parking lot today. Her name is Dorothy, and we connected in a way that took me totally by surprise. Dorothy is beautiful. If had to guess, I’d say she’s in her mid-seventies. We met because when I came out of the store she was admiring my “sporty” car. How fun is that? Now, before you get too impressed, I drive a white Dodge Avenger. It is a cute car. I like my car, but usually when I stop to admire a car, it’s a sassy little Lexis or Beemer convertible. I guess it’s all relative.
Dorothy was parked next to me, so I asked her about her car, and that’s when the conversation turned. She told me that it used to be her husband’s car. It was his baby. She proceeded to tell me how he had died 15 years earlier and how she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it. As I asked her about her husband, the tears started to flow. I could tell it felt good for her to talk about him. She spoke of how she missed him and of how when she sits in the seat of that meticulously cared for ’96 Avalon, she feels connected to him once again.
In the process of enjoying the beautiful day and our lovely conversation, the love of God flooded my heart for this woman. I wanted to hug her the whole time we talked. As I reflect on my experience, I realize, that must be the way the Father feels towards us. When He looks at us through His eyes of love, He understands the emotion, the loss and sometimes the pain of this life, as I understood and empathized with hers. He longs to reach out and touch us to bring healing and comfort to our broken hearts and lives.
I could relate so well to this woman’s grief, as my sweet daddy went to be with the Lord almost 4 years ago this fall. When she spoke, quiet tears ran down her checks. There was a comradery, as her experience was very close to the one my mother often shares with me. We talked about the experience of continuing on when the love of your life has gone and we agreed how special it is to have someone in your life to love, no matter for how long.
As our conversation was coming to a close, she looked me in the eyes and asked me if I was married. I responded “yes” with a smile and told her about my husband and three amazing kids. She told me to enjoy them. She told me not to let the small stuff get in the way. She said to take advantage of every moment because you just never know.
Today, as you read this, I hope you are reminded and encouraged to reach out to those people in your life that you take for granted from time to time. To hug a little tighter, forgive a little quicker and laugh a little bit longer. It’s so easy to be busy and do what we do, day after day. Take it from Dorothy, tomorrow is not promised to anyone so take advantage of today.
If you are reading this and you’ve lost someone you love, I’m sorry. I guess sometimes the ache never totally goes away, but I do know that Jesus wants to wrap His loving arms around you today. You may be experiencing that love right now as you read this, or maybe He will bring someone your way today to let you know you’re not alone.
I got Dorothy’s phone number. I’m going to call her next week for lunch.