I am excited to introduce you to my friend Sara McDaniel today. You are going to love her personality and passion. Here’s a little bit about her – she’s a “lover of life, tennis, the beach, and chocolate. Grateful. Joyous. Driven. Praising HIM for everything above zero.” Don’t you love that she is “praising Him for everything above zero!” Today’s post is a little longer than usual, but I can’t help but post the whole thing. It’s our lives — full of stuff, and mishaps, but yet a great reminder that opportunity awaits if we are open and ready. You can connect with Sara on facebook and twitter. Now grab a cup of coffee – laugh, smile, and enjoy this beautiful post.
It was definitely one of those Francesca Battestelli kind of days. You know, This Is The Stuff You Use kind of days. (Google the lyrics if you don’t know the song.)
It more or less started with a terrible night’s sleep at a hotel. I tossed and turned all night. I drug myself out of the bed around 6:00 am and looked forward to a nice, hot shower to help get me going. Well, that didn’t happen. Water was ICE COLD. Ever tried to shave your legs when they are covered in chill bumps? I’ll probably contract pneumonia here shortly from washing my hair in the frigid water.
Just before walking out of the door for a meeting, I stopped by the hotel business center to print a doc I needed for a customer. Doc wouldn’t print. I created the doc in Word 2007, the hotel computer was 2003, the codec wasn’t installed, yadda, yadda. No go on printing the doc. I decided to just stop in a Fed Ex before my meeting to print it out.
Off I go to my first round of appts. They went well; things are looking up!
I stop for lunch at Chili’s in San Marcos (yes, I really was at Chili’s and not the outlet mall). Had to take a longer than normal lunch in order to finish up a price quote for a meeting. Talked to a colleague several times to make sure I was getting things input correctly. Adding numbers, adding product, bite of soup, take a call, return an email, eat a chip, email myself another doc I need to print, drink water, use the restroom and out the door I go.
Well, about 10 minutes onward to my next appt., it suddenly dawned on me that I LEFT my company credit card at Chili’s. Yes, I did. Never even signed my ticket. I was so consumed with the activities at hand that it never dawned on me that I needed to pay my bill. So, I call Chili’s. Yes, they have my credit card and yes they will hold it AND the slip I failed to sign until I could swing back by.
Prior to my next meeting, I needed to stop in at Fed Ex to print those docs. No Fed Ex near my appointment but I do find a UPS Store. Stopped in there; emailed the files. Main file I needed printed beautifully. Second file was created in Excel 2007, and yep, you guessed it. They have 2003, no codec installed, and I didn’t have time to wait. *Sigh*
Onward to my next meeting. That went well. Thank goodness. I’ll end up emailing the customer the Excel file I needed to print which will make a nice follow up touch. Stopped back by Chili’s, signed the slip, got my card, and off to the next meeting I go.
Next task. Find a Fed Ex. It is now getting late in the day and there is actually a Fed Ex on the way back to the hotel with the dreadful, ice cold shower.
As I pull into Fed Ex, I notice a sad, frail homeless woman curled up on the sidewalk near the road by Fed Ex. Oh my goodness! I realize this is the SAME homeless woman I saw yesterday, somewhere else in San Antonio. I recognized her tattered garb, and do-rag with ponytail hanging out of the back. Yesterday, my heart crumbled as I pulled up to a red light near an overpass. The lady was obviously in pain, holding her belly, and dragging herself to wherever she was going.
I ran into Fed Ex, shipped my package, and went straight to the Taco Cabana next door. I missed an opportunity yesterday and since she mysteriously entered my life again, I was not going to let this slide once more. I pulled through the drive through, ordered her a meal, and drove over to her. I motioned for her to come to the window. She did. I asked if she was hungry. “YES!” she exclaimed.
Her next statement floored me. I expected her to ask for money, a ride, anything but what she asked me for. She asked me if I had any panties! My heart sunk! I have a bazillion panties! How can she just want panties??? My suitcase was at the cold water hotel, so panties I did not have (except the ones I was wearing…and I wasn’t about to strip down in front of this woman). I told her to wait there and I would go get her some panties.
Google a Walmart and off I go to buy panties. I was nearly in tears all the way to Walmart. I just kept going over and over in my mind how it must feel to not have a clean pair of panties. How it must feel to be dirty. How it must feel to be unloved, shamed, homeless. I couldn’t bear the thought…….
I did, indeed, pick her up a brand, spankin’ new 6 pk. of panties along with some White Stag jeans and shirts, toiletries, baby wipes, an 8 pk. of trail mix, a Walmart gift card and a Subway gift card.
When I arrived back to her locale, she was in tears. She thought I wasn’t coming back. (It took me forever as the Walmart wasn’t close and 5 o’clock traffic was slowly growing.)
I sat down beside her right there near the road, traffic whizzing by. I asked her to tell me her story. Her name is Denise. Her body is frail and narrow. She has mousse colored, oily hair, pulled back into a low ponytail. Her face is covered with deep set wrinkles. But, she has the most honest, sincere blue eyes I think I’ve ever seen. She is an Air Force brat. Graduated from A&M with a degree in Archeology and had been a data entry clerk up until 8 mos. ago. She feels her Archeology degree is worthless and hasn’t been able to find work since being laid off 8 mos. prior. She couldn’t care for her 16 year old daughter so she sent her “up north” to live with her Godmother where she hears she is thriving. She has a camp somewhere in the city. Lost her home when she lost her job. She sometimes spends nights in shelters, but recently was robbed at 2 am in the morning while staying at one. This is the Reader’s Digest version. I can only imagine the rest of her story and the holes she left out.
My heart continued to break in two. I wanted to just bring her home with me, but knew that wasn’t feasible. I asked her if I could pray with her. She grabbed her spindly, yarn woven cross necklace, crossed her heart and we prayed.
This was sincerely one of the most precious moments of my life. I was so sad to leave her knowing that I will likely never see her again. However, given she had now entered my life TWICE it seems possible that a third time would not be out of the question.
So my Francesca Battestelli day turned into an unexpected blessing. My terrible night’s sleep (reflecting, can I honestly say it was terrible?), ice cold shower, and seemingly constant mishaps, all pale in comparison with what Denise is currently experiencing. I have clean panties. I had barbeque for dinner. I will HOPEFULLY have a hot shower in the morning. She has nothing.
All of this because I was in the “right place, at the right time.” My docs that wouldn’t print (twice), leaving my credit card behind and having to return to pick it up, having to overnight a package unexpectedly set the stage for the sweetest, divine appointment.
This is the stuff YOU use………