I was driving down the road with my restless 2-year old in the back seat when I noticed a mom and her children walking home from the grocery store. The mother looked tired from her adventure with children in a grocery store. Getting your children ready to go and keeping them from getting distracted on the walk to the grocery store is a task. Then trying to get all of your grocery shopping done with little ones in tow sometimes feels like climbing a mountain, and finally, holding your children’s hands and bags of groceries while walking down the sidewalk is just plain acrobatic.
Just when I noticed this brave mother and family, the little boy dropped the gallon of milk he was carrying. The jug busted apart and milk spilled everywhere. I have had enough of my own mom experiences to know this mother had to feel frustrated in this moment, not to mention the high expense of milk.
You may now think that this is a story about the time I helped this family out. Unfortunately, this is not the story I am telling. However, this is the family I think about every time I think I am too busy to lend a hand. To this day, I help more often because of this family. Because on that day, when I saw the milk drop, I did think about turning around, going to the store, buying some milk, and then, catching up with them.” But then I started telling myself how complicated this would be for me. I thought to myself, “My 2 year old is going to get cranky, and the family is on the other side of a 4 lane road. By the time I turn around and get the milk, they could be gone, and how am I going to hand off the milk on a four lane road?” So I just kept on driving.
Today I realize all of these thoughts were just excuses. That day I decided it was just too complicated to help. But over a year later, I can’t seem to forget that family. I still wish I had helped. Sometimes people need help at inconvenient times or helping may take more effort than we wanted to spend. Today I try to pray each morning, “God, help me notice the needs of others today and give me the patience to stop even during the busiest times of my day.” I pray this because in a year from now, I won’t remember that I got supper on the table in time, but I will remember when I slowed down to help one of God’s children.