Tuesday, September 3, 2013
All throughout the year we dream and plan for when our family's calendar reaches the long awaited for days of vacation. The time where we put reality under lock down and unpack for days of relaxation and quality family time as we renew and refresh enabling ourselves to go back equipped to unlock reality and carry on our journey.
It was toward the middle of our vacation when we stopped in a small southern town for some of their local chicken and biscuits. We carried our trays to the table and bowed our heads for prayer over our meal. As I raised my head I noticed an older gentleman walking to a table carrying a tray that held a single meal. My heart instantly hurt. I just can't stand to see the elderly eating alone. I moaned an,"Ohhhh dear, he's eating alone." When my family turned and saw him they immediately told me to go invite him to our table as we were only five sitting at a table for six. I saw that they truly didn't mind sharing our family time with a stranger so I walked over to the older gentleman and invited him to join us for lunch. He took his hand and laid it on my arm as tears filled his eyes. He thanked me over and over but simply said, "My wife died." No other words. He choose to sit alone and I respected his wishes. I made it back to my seat but my tears turned into a sob and I had to excused myself in order to pull myself together.
His watering eyes spoke volumes to me. I questioned myself if this was their special spot that they stopped each Sunday afternoon following their morning worship service. Was this table their regular table? Was he reliving all the conversations they shared over their many years together? Were there regrets? Were there unspoken words? As I cleared our table to leave I glanced over to him and he simply smiled.
I couldn't help but think of how many are sitting alone unnoticed at a table or in only one of the two rocking chairs that occupy their front porch. Even though this gentleman's grief was too new to share with strangers his eyes spoke of his thankfulness at being noticed instead of sitting invisible to others. I repent for all the times I have purposefully turned from those that I could have shown kindness to but didn't really want to have my privacy invaded with strangers that were "most likely" content to sit alone visiting with their memories. We all search for His will in our lives but His will for everyone is to love one another showing them kindness that happens to be free for everyone to give.
Will you take the time to notice?
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another."