In the midst of trying to make a coconut custard pie and an apple pie, I realized I needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store to get a roll of wax paper to roll my pie dough. As usual, I headed out to go to grocery store just around the corner from my house. I arrived at the grocery store and the parking lot looked like a ghost town around 6:00 PM due to being Christmas Eve an obvious indication that the store was closed. I then headed to Walmart, a place that I tend to avoid at all costs, but for some reason today, I had an itch and my foot was overly stubborn and stayed on the gas pedal until I found myself at Walmart. I was excited thinking about baking and didn't paid much attention on whether I really wanted to go there. When I am on a mission trying to buy something, you better move out of my way, because I like to go straight to the isle that has what I need and rush out, and when it comes to Walmart, I tend to make that particular trip faster than the Bullet Train in Japan.
As I entered the gigantic store that usually makes me feel like a tiny pebble in the sea, I realized I needed to grab a bottle of Almond Butter, so, I just made a quick U-Turn to get me to the isle with breakfast products. in the opposite direction. There was something different about walking into this isle, I can't think of a single word that would accurately describe the feeling as I skipped myself to the isle and abruptly made a stop at the jelly section within the isle. I don't go around looking at people as I usually find myself in my own world plugged into my music, but today, my eyes gravitated to the man standing next to me observing the different jellies while I was trying to locate the Almond Butter; I did located the little sucker of a bottle, but being a "tall" woman, I ended up getting on my toes in order to finally reach the last bottle that was left. Then once I was able to breath after all of that stretching, my eyes went back to this man. For the first three minutes of observing him, I noticed he was hesitant on which jelly to get and his hesitation did not appeared to be due because of he was trying to select what he liked, but rather, what he could afford.
My eyes then shifted to his cart, and I only saw a loaf of bread, two packages of hot dogs, and now, the jelly will be added to his assortment of groceries. By this time, he was still weighing mentally trying to squeeze every dime. His behavior while trying to decide which jelly was familiar as I have been there before. I could tell this man was struggling trying to budget what he could get tonight. What day is today? I didn't needed to ask if this man is going through a major struggle, his jeans had big holes around his knees. No, I don't think he was wearing them because he is trying to keep up with the fashion trends. His sneakers had holes in the front area where the big toes take resident,and not much sole left. His sweater was in need of washing and overdue for replacement and his hair ready for a haircut. There were two words that flashed through my mind within these couple of minutes: brokenness and struggle. He was probably 37 or so, and his face reflected great tiredness and a deep level of exhaustion. I could easily tell that this man's life has been a struggle, perhaps, a major struggle for a long time and he looked defeated. I knew the reason why I needed to go to Walmart, it was not to grab the wax paper, but to connect with this man. Why am I sharing this with you?
It is Christmas Eve and I have the power to let my eyes see beautiful trees that are repost on Facebook flooded with Christmas gifts, homes filled with joy, families enjoying each other, but as I get to see this part of the season, my eyes also get to see the other side: people who are fighting battles ,and in the case of this man, a battle to afford life's necessities such as buying something to eat. Today, not every home is filled with joy, every person has a roof over his/her head, enough to make a decent meal, and many people are grieving the loss of loved one, a marriage, and longing to have your or a family member with you that is currently across the world serving his/her country.
I shared this story to remind us that even thought you and I are going through a difficult time, I know that I don't have enough fingers to count the blessings in my life today and the same was true yesterday and tomorrow. The battle that this man is fighting and the Cross that he is carrying right now was very evident, and no words needed to be exchanged in order for me to understand where he is at in his life.
Whatever your battle is for today, remember that you don't need to fight it alone because He has your back, and knows the best strategy for you to win it in His time. If you are suffering in whatever way, lay it at His feet, seek refuge in His loving presence, and remember, there is no battle that you are going through that He does not understand.