The Running Girl
Last Sunday, I went to the supermarket after being sick during the week which is when I usually go to buy groceries and such. While I waited in line to pay, a mom with her preteen daughter lined up behind me. I overheard the lady’s clear voice asking basic questions to the girl who was repeating the answer using very basic vocabulary. I turned around to smile at them to notice the mom had a very stressed face since her tall girl had started to yell out one of the answers while mom explained patiently in a questioning tone that “we do not yell in the stores.”
At this point, I had decided to make a friendly comment so I turned around again. The fair-haired preteen had started to run in her place as she repeated in her own words something her mom had said. By now, the mom’s face was showing concern while turning to look around at other shoppers. I smiled again at the lady, and then at the blue-eyed girl who was still running in her place. “Where are you going?” I asked her remembering the times when I used to tell my youngest to run in his place whenever he wanted to go back home from shopping. To this, the active girl’s mom commented, “That is a good question.” I could perceive her sense of relief as she worded her answer. We chit-chatted a little. Then, it was my turn to pay.
By then, another stranger had joined our casual conversation, and the lady looking more relaxed than before followed along while her inquisitive tween girl walked my way and back to her mom. Feeling a sense of peace, I thanked God for that moment when strangers became His compassionate presence for neighbors if only for those brief moments.
As I was leaving the store, I went back to say, “Blessing!” to the lady who looked at me surprised. She politely said, “Thank you!” while turning her eyes towards her daughter who had gone to check out the free samples close by.
I pray for parents and caregivers who are in a similar situation every day of their lives so they may also see God’s compassion though a stranger’s actions. I pray that we may let others know through our compassion that it’s ok if children with disAbilities are themselves. I pray that, in our walk with God, we may become more like the running girl who is free to be childlike. Mary, Mother of Mercy, cover us with your mantle. Amen.