You know what I love? A good Friday night out with my family. For some people, that looks like football games and Gatorade. Others may go for a movie screen and popcorn. But when it comes to us Wilson’s, four-month old babe included, we’ve founded our own little tradition – dinner (often at the same place & booth) and a visit to the mall.
I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t get boring every now and again. Especially when baby gap hasn’t updated their clearance section yet, and the Icee machine at the pretzel shop is broken. (Get it together, Auntie Anne!) But then, there was last weekend. The weekend that blew all my expectations away in the most unexpected way.
I met someone. This someone was so intensely unique that I couldn’t help but stare. In fact, everyone in the mall was starting at her – most were laughing, some tried to look away and pretend she wasn’t there. Others treated her as a disease – best left by itself, far enough away that it didn’t affect them. I wondered where she was from. Her actions were unusual, too. She paced around and acted as if she was playing hopscotch on invisible blocks. Before I could even come to my own conclusions, she began walking my way. My heart sank down into my throat.
She inched her way close to the bench I was seated on. Finch was in my lap, and without bending she was at eye level with him. She looked to be about 60 years old, and she walked with a bend in her back—crouched over and wobbling with each step. Her hair was silver, and tangled around her bangs. Her eyes were as grey as a cloudy sky. Her clothes were wrinkled, stained and torn. But then, there was that smile. The most beautiful smile I have seen in ages – missing teeth and all.
With a soft, sweet voice, this woman began to ask me questions about my baby. About my life. About my night. She noticed me. This woman, the one who everyone else had noticed, stared at, and judged, took the time to seek me out. To ask me my name. To hear my story. She wasn’t concerned with the judgmental glares of those passing by. She wasn’t intrigued by the sale signs and mannequins in the store windows. She wanted to invest in me. To speak encouragement into my life. To tell me I’m doing a good job at this whole mom thing.
I’ve never had to walk a mile in my new friend, Martha’s, shoes, but that day, she decided to take the time to walk a mile in mine. It’s funny, I think we would all picture “the least of these” looking something like her, but in that moment, I realized the least of these was me. She has that everlasting kind of beauty. The kind that only comes from above. There’s nothing lowly about a person who is totally devoted to Jesus – His spirit keeps them uplifted no matter the circumstance.
I’m forever grateful for what Martha taught me, and I pray that I can have eyes like hers to notice people. I long to be so devoted to my calling, that I never let the whispers and stares keep me from being who God created me to be. Martha is a hero to me. She is a mentor. She is a picture of love—one I’ll never, ever forget.
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