Yesterday I told you about the kind stranger who I met briefly in the breakfast room during a recent motel stay. If you missed it, you can find that post here.
There is a second stranger to tell about. She was in that same breakfast room, and I saw her just a few minutes after my encounter with the near-sighted gentleman who we are calling stranger number one.
First, let me tell you that the breakfast room was not large, and it was set up to seat as many as possible. All of the tables in the room were cafe style-- some regular height and some higher with bar stools. All had seating for only two. So families were sitting at two or more tables.
The table next to mine had some things on it already. A cup of coffee, untouched, with steam still rising from it, a full glass of orange juice, a couple of pieces of fruit, some napkins, and the coffee fixings. Ordinarily I wouldn't have noticed that much detail about a table that was not mine, but what happened caused me to take notice.
A woman came up to that table, sat her designer purse down on one of the two chairs, and just looked straight ahead, even though almost immediately the lady behind her in the second table over from mine began speaking to her.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Excuse me Ma'am, but that table is taken."
I looked over to see a middle aged woman sitting and already eating with her teenage daughter.
The woman who had just walked up and put her purse down didn't react in even the tiniest way. She just stood there, seemingly oblivious. So the other woman tried again, this time a little louder.
"Uh, Ma'am. That table is taken. My husband and son are sitting there."
When she still didn't move a muscle, things got interesting. Now, I thought to myself that perhaps she did not speak English. She was of Asian decent. But what the woman trying to keep her husband's table said made more sense once I heard it. She said:
"Hello! What, are you deaf?" She didn't say it as rudely as it appears in writing. She was getting frustrated, though.
Once I thought about it, deafness actually made more sense, because when someone speaking in a different language tries to talk to you, you at least turn to them, look at their face, and try to figure out what they are saying. But this woman was a frozen statue. I don't even think she was blinking.
So now someone who is from another table and actually in the frozen woman's line of vision waves and says to her:
"Hey, lady! You are at someone's else's table!"
To which she replies (in perfect English), "They are not here now!"
The man who had just jumped in then told her, "It doesn't matter, lady. You can't sit there. That table is taken."
The previously frozen statue-lady made a loud noise of indignation, snatched up her purse, and went to the other side of the room to look for another table. The wife of the missing husband thanked the intervening man. Within two minutes a table became available, the mean lady went to it and sat down, and a little girl about five-years old came to join her in the second chair.
I sat, watching her, and I thought how cold and rude that woman was. What a feeling of entitlement she had. And then I wondered what I always wonder-- what had happened to make her that way? I watched as she interacted with her little girl. The child was whiney and uncooperative. I didn't wonder why. My heart was filled with compassion for that little girl. I honestly wanted go snatch her up and run for the hills. But I couldn't, of course.
I know that I've said often to love the unlovely. I know that I should have gone over to her and given her a tract with my website handwritten on the back. I had only one with me, and it was for the lady working that breakfast room. She had been so kind to me when I came down for coffee twenty minutes before the start of breakfast hours. She had made sure I had the things that I needed and had allowed me to claim a corner table in the still dim and unopened room. I was grateful and we had chatted. She spoke with a heavy accent. The tract was for her.
But now I wish I had given it the that mean table-stealing lady. She was unapproachable and she was unkind. To tell you the truth, she scared me a little. But I should have given her the tract. I could have gotten another one for the nice breakfast lady. I knew she'd be there till ten. I hate regrets.
And so, the contrast of the two strangers. And I am yet again reminded to be kind to everyone, because we never know what a person has been through, or what they are going through now. I am seeing more and more people like that angry, mean lady. Cold and entitled, they are sad, bitter, and consumed with self. I wonder who her little girl will become. The thought makes me sad.
People need the Lord. Have you looked into the faces of strangers lately? I have everything, and so many have nothing, regardless of how much money they have. They have nothing without the Lord. They live in darkness. God help us to be mindful of that, and share their only hope. The precious Blessed Hope. They need to know that Jesus loves them and paid for them on the cruel tree of Calvary. Oh, what love that is!
John 12:46 - "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
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