Wednesday, May 24, 2006


i don't know what it was exactly about what i said to the woman, but it seemed to have made her day. i had some business with one of those state governmental agencies yesterday - one of the ones where you know that going will probably take up more of your day than you'd like, and where you have to take a number to ask even the simplest question... the place was big and somewhat intimidating - i'd never been to this building before, and i had to ask where to go for every little thing. i managed to handle quite a bit by following general directions. most of my business having been completed, i still had one more question that required personal assistance. so i took a number from the little ticket machine and sat down to wait on one of the folks in one of the cubicles. according to the ticket and the big stadium-like four-faced sign hanging from the ceiling, i was next. so i waited and waited while about four cubicles of folks asked their questions... then, finally, some people got up... but whoever helped them didn't advance the number. silly me for thinking it would be that easy.

then some more people got up and the number advanced to mine. should i go to the first empty cube or this newly vacated second one? i paused to figure it out. then i saw a little light come on near the second one and figured, "oh, that must be it." when i got to the cubicle, there was a pretty woman there, shuffling and moving things out of the way off of her desk.

"hi. is this where i'm supposed to be?" i asked her.

it was like she breathed a sigh of relief right before my very eyes. i couldn't exactly keep track of everything she was saying - her speech was gushing out with the urgency of air released from a tightly inflated balloon - but it had something to do with her asking God to help her right before i walked up, and that lo and behold, He sent her a customer with the humility to ask her something as simple as, "is this where i'm supposed to be..." apparently the last three weeks of her job were really weighing on her heavily, and the last thing she needed was some more drama. she was actually happy to see me! more than happy to answer my question! more than happy to do the extra digging that my question required! more than happy to take the extra time with me! wow! well i wasn't prepared to be received like a welcome relief - not at all. cordial service was all i'd expected.

now, all because my general way of thinking dictates that i simply ask questions if i want to know something. (with an attitude that doesn't dissuade the people who want to help me), i'm finding out about this woman's awesome track star daughter who's a freshman at the local high school, and about ways that i can expedite the business that i have with this agency, and getting encouragement and, dare i say, love, from this absolute stranger whose day was going badly 'cause she'd had car trouble on the way in that morning - who'd come in to work because she'd had to, but who was taking joy in helping me because she wanted to. amazing. it's strange how you never know how the Creator can use your words and your attitude and demeanor to bless and increase someone... or i suppose, conversely, how you can hurt or damage someone if your words, actions, and demeanor aren't right.

we'd made such an impact on each other that we each lingered momentarily after our business was through, not wanting to stop the flow of good feelings. but i left, feeling good, question answered, old lessons about life affirmed. and she advanced the number and clicked her light on, hopefully optimistic and brave about getting through the rest of the day...