After working in retail for almost three years I have met a variety of people. I enjoy working at the registers because it gives me a chance to connect with people, even if it is only for less than five minutes. Talking and meeting new people have always been one of my pleasures in life. Not every conversation is a happy one though. I have encountered angry customers who will curse me or my managers out. I have been in front of parents arguing with their kids. I met creepy men who made inappropriate comments about me or other workers. I have even seen a customer carrying a baby pig in her purse because she did not want her cat messing with it. Nothing phases me at work anymore. It was not until a week ago I met a customer who has been on my heart since.
She was a middle aged woman who came up to my register. I had just shared a pleasant conversation with an older lady with twenty-two cats. I was not expecting for my next conversation to take place. It started off with the usual “hello! How are you?” and I would begin scanning her items. She seemed alright to me. Just a regular shopper buying some cute merchandise. I complimented some décor she was purchasing for her bathroom. Me being my chatty self, I asked her if she was redecorating a bathroom. She told me she was actually moving to a new home and wanted something new for her master bathroom. So we started chatting and I found out she was married and her mother would be moving in with her and her husband. I said “oh, that must be exciting!” Out of nowhere she said: “Six months ago, my father committed suicide and now my mother is living with us because she does not want to live alone.”
I was silent. I saw the sadness on her face. Her eyes looked tired. I did not notice the lost look she had on her face until she told me what happened. She seemed like a strong woman who was just trying to stay strong during this crisis in her life. I had no idea if there were other family members affected as well. All I knew was that this woman was trying to keep her life together without falling apart herself. I stood there for a few seconds not knowing what I was going to say until this came out of my mouth: Even though this hurts so much, something good will come out of this. I did not know where I was going with that. Words kept pouring out of my mouth. I told her to start with baby steps. I asked her if she was close to her mom and she said of course. I told her to make the most of this time you will have living with your mother. I kept giving her encouraging words to the best of my ability.
Our encounter ended that night with her grabbing her bags and saying thank you so much. I have not seen that woman since. I hope I will see her again. If I could go back, I would have shared more of my faith with her. But I felt like I said what needed to be said in that moment.
Showing love towards someone is easy to do when you already have a form of relationship with them. It is harder when it is for a complete stranger. Having my faith in Jesus Christ encourages me to show love towards every person I come across. I am not always successful in doing so. But we love because God has loved us first. I have been reading a lot through Mark and learning about Christ’s love towards those who do not deserve it. Having that strength to be able to show compassion towards the unlovable is an admirable quality. But to gain that quality, one must be in deep love with God and to walk with Christ. Without the desire to walk the way God leads, we get caught up in ourselves and our selfish ways. As Christians, we are called to love everyone, just as Christ loved us to die for us. It says so in the Bible:
Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
I know, so many churches will tell you that you are greatly loved by God. It may be part of their motto or hook to get people in their churches. It is spread across the country on billboards or car decals. The word “love” has become underestimated. For years I never really understood it. I had no idea what the Bible or Christians meant when they told me that I was loved by God. At least, not how strong that love actually is. Augustine best describes it as “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” His love cannot be perfectly described. Human words cannot even reach the levels of compassion He has for us. But what we can get close to is that the creator of the Universe and everything in it- wisdom, love, eternity, has a deep meaningful love for you that will never perish. His love is something that not other person can feel towards you. His love for each individual, no matter their circumstances, cannot be expressed in numbers, words, or measurements. God is love. We are incapable of completely receiving it, yet he shows it towards us everyday.
I could go on trying to describe God’s love. But nothing I can say will come close to the description. Because of the love, we must love. It can be through short conversations, text messaging or even just smiling at someone. People need love. Our souls long for it. Reflect what God has shown towards you.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.