A few days ago I dashed into the grocery to drool over their flowers and grab some gala apples that were on sale. (Okay, I’ll just fess up and say my main motivation for the trip was cupcakes, cupcakes that weren’t on sale but still made their way into my cart.) Our grocery always has a garden selection of plants and flowers, and I wanted some to help nudge my dining room toward spring. I grabbed a stunning potted hydrangea, the only hydrangea that held a mix of blue and purple watercolor flowers like none I’d seen before. I couldn’t wait to take it home and set it on my buffet table.
After paying, it took a moment to place my receipt in my wallet and grab my bags. As I was doing so, the woman behind me in line moved forward to pay. I heard the cashier ask her a question , and as she answered, something about the tone of her voice made me pause and grab a glimpse of her face. She looked worn-out and tired, like at the very least the day had done its best to get the best of her.
I walked outside, found my car, and loaded my two bags inside. As I placed the hydrangea plant on the passenger side floor, I felt a voice tell my spirit, Gift the woman who was in line behind you with the hydrangea.
In that moment I knew I was suppose to give it to her. But let me just be honest and say I felt embarrassed to do so, much more so than sad to lose the plant. So I told God: Fine, I’ll give it to her, but only if she’s parked close to me. I’m not about to go sprinting through this humongous parking lot on the hunt for her.
Sometimes I’m so bratty I talk awfully bossy-like to God.
I then put my cart back in the cart holder, and as I turned back toward my car, I all but stumbled into the lady who was in the check-out line behind me. I actually laughed out loud because of course. I quickly grabbed the plant from my van and walked to the lady’s car, parked just two spaces from mine. I said rather tentatively, “Excuse me, ma’am?”
She turned around.
I held out the hydrangea and said, “Happy Easter!”
She smiled ear to ear and gave an exuberant, “Thank you!” No odd stares or Who the heck are you? Just a kind thank you before she slid into her driver’s seat.
When I got in my own car and turned toward home, I couldn’t help but grin like a fool. The only thought I had was Jesus, it is a privilege to be kind for you.
He does that, you know–he turns sacrifices into privileges for the one giving.
And in doing so, he bleaches the darkness for the one receiving.
“We would think that [Christ’s] resurrected life were some spiritual thing that we human beings could not understand. This is not the case. No. The power of his resurrection is something within our reach. . . We can bring hope into everything, into our daily life, into everything at which we work and into anything that we touch.” ~ Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, Bread & Wine
There was a time when I believed those who brought hope across oceans were the ones who really got to witness the power of Christ’s resurrection. Or maybe those who said and did great things while holding a microphone. Either way, it looked grand and glorious and involved jaw-dropping wonderful. Instead, I now know that while those things are indeed wonderful, the exact same power is available in the small and ordinary within the most un-glorious places.
It’s available for the tired mom standing in the kitchen making lunches.
It’s available for the generous woman giving her time in the childcare room.
It’s available for the kind encourager who asks the elderly neighbor how she’s doing.
And I believe that when our Father witnesses those Hope Bringers doing their thing, he grins ear to ear and says,
“My girl right there? She is all kinds of jaw-dropping wonderful.”
We are the Resurrection people, and we get to partner with Jesus in his redemptive work. We get to use things like hydrangeas in parking lots to bring the hope of heaven to the hearts of human beings.
May you and I–the Hope Bringers and Love Slingers–never get over it.