By Stephanie Anna Breznau
Once a week, my amazing husband watches the kids while I go out by myself for a few hours to run errands. I’m certainly blessed to have a husband who cares so much about me and enjoys helping with our kiddos.
Recently, on one of my excursions I decided to stop by our local Salvation Army. My goal was to get in and get out, and score a bunch of kid’s clothes for cheap. As I was perusing through old and dusty clothing, I heard right next to me, “Excuse me? Excuse me!”
I turned and there stood a little, elderly lady looking up at me. She probably only reached to my shoulders, thick glasses covered sparkly eyes, her white hair was covered in a tan scarf, and she tightly clutched her worn purse. I turned to her and smiled, asking how I might help her.
She smiled back and showed me a t-shirt with ducks on it – apparently it was from the Peabody Hotel. She asked me, “Have you ever been to the Peabody Hotel in Memphis?” I told her I had not and she continued on with her story of visiting the hotel, how fun it was (though expensive), and how she loved the duck pond in the lobby. I started noticing different ladies walking by, peering down their noses at her in disdain, perhaps at the volume with which she was telling her tale, or maybe at the old fashioned quality of her clothing. Although, at first, impatient to be interrupted from my search, God pricked my conscience that she was more important than any measly “deal” I was to find that day.
So I relaxed and decided to enjoy my conversation with her and she started to reveal more of herself to me. She talked about her fur and video tape collections, her daily trips on the bus, how her husband died years ago, and of living alone. After her short but eager vignette, she thanked me for listening to her, gave me a coupon for another nearby thrift store, and continued on her way.
Invisible people… I was reminded there are people like her everywhere, but to how many of them do I give the time of day? I want my heart to always be tender toward those who God puts in my path. I could have just passed her by, just like all the dusty clothing on the racks.
Instead, by God’s grace, Jesus opened my eyes to the hurting and needy around me. As I left the store that day I couldn’t shake this thought: I need to see the invisible people – the people Jesus sees and cares about even when no one else does.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)
Help me be like You, Jesus. Give me Your eyes so I can see the people that are invisible to everyone but You…