The other day I wrote a whole blog post, I felt alright about it and was ready to press post and my computer shut down. I tried to restart it, I logged onto my blog, it shut down again. One more time, restarted the computer, logged onto my blog, opened my blogpost archive, and the screen went black. What on earth was going on?! This was unlike anything I've experienced with my computer before. It wasn't over heating, the battery was nearly 50%, it's a brand new computer. Now, if you know me at all you know that I went to work frustrated beyond belief. This is something that would set me off for the rest of the night, irritating me and poking me in the brain for my whole shift. But I tuck that all away like I usually do, put on my happy smile and begin folding shirts and tidying our store. I work in a store for men, it's a nice job, it's nothing fancy. It's definitely not my dream job by any means, but it's helping me save my pennies so I can pursue my talents on the side for now. I meet many different people throughout my days, helping young men get fitted for graduations, grooms get fitted for their weddings, and gentlemen get suited up for interviews. Somedays are better than others, but all in all it all follows the same pace from day to day.
Today was different.
Herb and Martha walked in the store like any other couple would, they were an elderly pair, their heads bobbing from side to side scanning the store for a helping hand to aid them in their search for a pair of slacks for Herb for an upcoming wedding they were attending. Our eyes met and I welcomed them, and they excitedly told me about their upcoming trip out of province and we began our search. Herb had a coupon for $50 off, and his trip was on the 15th of August, and he really wanted to lose some more weight before he purchased his pants. The problem was, his coupon expired this weekend. But I had something better for him and Martha. "Herb, we're collecting donations for a local charity! If you bring in a tie, or a suit, we'll give it to men in need who are trying to restart their lives and get off the streets. And as a thank you we'll be able to give you a 50% off coupon, this will last till September so you won't have a problem getting those pants, I'll just put them on hold for you!" Well, this solved the problem for them, but man it opened up a can of worms that I wasn't prepared for. Herb and Martha expressed to me how grateful they were for this, not just because I told them about this coupon, but because we were participating in such a great charity as a store and community.
Their son had been homeless on and off for the past 30 years.
When people talk about their children being homeless in past tense I immediately assume that they have passed away. So I didn't pry. I said I was proud to be apart of this charity and the work we were doing as well, but then Herb went on: "Yes, we're proud that he has come so far. He's living on his own now. He has a job. They all need people like this doing work like this." This is when I just couldn't hold back. "I am so pleased for you both" I said, " What a blessing, I am so happy for you. I can't imagine this." Herb and his wife looked at each other with a bit of a knowing look, I wasn't exactly sure what passed between them in that moment. But Herb took my hand and said; "Are you a Christian? I feel it. You talk with love." I nodded, and choked out the words; "I just know what it's like. My sister has been through this. On and off for the past 10 years. Addiction, homelessness, sexual violence." The two of them just nodded back, and hugged me. They told me the story of their son and how he found recovery and safety and healing. I was a mess. I was in the middle of my shift. Crying in front of these two kind old customers crying my heart out, letting them know my fears about my sister and my anxiety for my family, my mother, my grandmother.
Then Martha, who I now know is a trained mentor for mothers and families struggling with this exact issue, gave me her phone number.
If you know me you know I consider myself a doubter. I definitely relate to the disciple Thomas, my friend Hope always scolds me for rolling my eyes when she says "Jesus moment" or not believing whole heartedly in these moments as fiercely as she does. Well y'all. Tonight wasn't a coincidence. I understand if you're like Thomas. I get it. Truly I do, I feel you 100%. And if you read this and think "I call B.S" that's fine by me, Jesus will manifest in your life in ways that you won't be able to ignore one day too.
You see, Herb and Martha weren't supposed to be in my store tonight.
They always go to Hamilton to buy their slacks and suits, but tonight while they were driving they felt like they needed to go to the St. Catharines store. They didn't know why, and they didn't particularly feel like it either, they like the Hamilton staff a lot. What do they call this? A Divine Appointment? Well it sure was something. I gathered up Herbs items he wanted put on hold, I took Martha's note with her phone number and their names, and I walked them to the front of our store. They gave me a hug, but before they left Martha gave me a mint, not just any mint. These mints are King mints, it felt like a hug from my childhood growing up in my small community with all the dutch Oma's who always gave us these as a treat. But not only that.
It felt like a signature, like this really was a conversation orchestrated by the King.
So I finished my shift, went home, and got back to my computer. What felt like such a frustrating experience writing my blog post earlier that day made so much sense now. I kept trying to restart my computer and write this blog post that was so mediocre and I was getting nowhere, there was no reason technologically that my computer shouldn't be working- I feel like I was being told; "No. You're not posting this. You're not writing this. I'm giving you a better story, and I'm changing you, and your heart in the process. You wanted to make a blog about your growth and faith? Well here we go girl." So that's my night. How are you doing?