A Christmas Confession
I was standing in line at Giant this late afternoon, piling bacon, sausage, milk and raisin bread onto the conveyer belt (Last minute trappings of a delicious Christmas brunch for tomorrow), when I glanced up to meet the eyes of the gentleman in front of me. He was a colorful looking character with a golden hoop in his earring and a diamond tennis bracelet around his wrist.
"You ready for Christmas?" He asked.
I couldn't help but notice the worn shirt drooping down his sides, and his black pants cut short, just above his ankles.
"I think so, I mean yeah, I better be." I chuckled.
He smiled faintly and pointed
"You've got a baby?"
I looked back at my pile, and noticed the diapers I nearly forgot to buy.
"Oh yeah, two kids, one still in diapers."
His eyes sagged, he appeared to be tired. His peppered hair and weathered skin seemed to place him in about his fifties.
"That's great. Babies are great. And you and your boyfriend or husband ready with all their gifts?"
A tinge of guilt swelled in my chest at the mention of gifts. I glanced over at his pile, ice and soda.
"Well yeah, but we don't get to many gifts. Just enough. My husband and I dont even exchange gifts, were not really gift people"
His thinned lips contorted into a frown.
"Well that's mighty sad, gifts make the world go round."
I stared at the man whom I did not know the name of. His body looked frail, his eyes clouded.
"Oh I just mean, we do stuff together rather than buy stuff. How about you? Do you have much going for Christmas?"
Any light in his eyes that had existed previously, wilted away.
"No, no, no....Its not good this year, not good."
My mouth closed shut, not offereing any support or upliftment. I should help this man, I need to help this man. I scanned the aisles for gift cards, but there was someone directly behind me now, and the gentleman standing in front of me was now paying for his soda and ice.
"Merry Christmas!" I chimed back.
What can I do?? I dont have any cash!!
The cashier scanned my items as I watched the gentleman walk out the door. My heart sank. As the cashier rang me up, I searched through my credit cards, till I found my check card. The prompt on thise machine appeared and asked if I would like cash back. Exhilerated by this I went to press the YES button, but in my haste, I hit NO. I murmur under my breath (this isn't the first time I've done this) Quickly I hit cancel.
"Did I do that wrong? Ummm"
I glance behind me now, the line has expanded and an announcenment over the loud speaker verifies that there is ten minutes till closing. My eyes flash back at the machine which is telling me that my payment has been successful and I am receiving no cash back. I wish the workers a Merry Christmas and fill my arms with bags. I fear that Ive probably missed the man anyhow and I walk out into the chilly black night. But as I search for my car, I spot him, walking in the same direction, just ahead of me, stopping at a green van filled with stickers.
What do I do? I have nothing to give. I bought two loaves of raisin bread, maybe I could give him one. But I felt foolish, what if he would be offended, was it dumb to give a man I don't know a loaf of bread, just because....just beacuse what? He reved his engine and flicked on his headlights. No, no, I won't, it's too late. And I watched him pull out from his parking spot and drive down the road.
The reason I am telling you this story, is because the moment I saw the oppurtunity to serve drive away, no matter how little-just a loaf of bread-I regreted not acting on it. I felt ashamed of myself. I know there are many of you who would have thought fast and acted quick, but I did not. And so I confess my selfish, sinful lack of action to you and hope you can also learn from my mistake. I feel like Heavenly Father was prompting me to do something good, but I allowed my insecurities to get the best of me. And truthfully I'm very embaressed because of this. I should have had more faith and acted fast. A wasted oppurtunity to serve on the Eve of Christmas. I do hope I prove myself worthy next time.