I’d seen him there before, the tall young man with the arm that hung by his side. The hand that would not work like the other one. He bagged groceries one-handed doing a fair job of it.
Today he was manning the check-out counter.
It was early morning at the grocery story because I had lots to do today. Trying to get the shopping done first, I found myself in his check-out line. There was only one person ahead of me, but it was obvious that things were moving slowly. Too slowly for my busy day. The young man had to pick up vegetables, look at code numbers and then type them in with only one good arm and hand.
I looked above and around to see if any other check-out lights were on so I could quietly move somewhere else. Get on with my day. Then something spoke to me. I think it was the Spirit. “Just be patient. Stay in this line. Let him check you out. Give him a chance.”
So I did. Before long, it was my food being transported down the conveyor belt, scanned and sent along to the bagger. The young man and I spoke to each other, passing the time of day. I thanked him and went on my way home, glad I stayed in his line and thankful that my Kroger offers jobs to all people.
As I rolled the baskart to my car, I understood the lesson.
We are all handicapped in one way or another. We all have special needs. While many are apparent, the result of birth defect or chromosomes gone awry, some of us carry our handicap invisibly, inside where no one else can see. It may be the result of an alcoholic parent, an abusive relative, a hurtful playmate, an unfriendly world. We bear the marks of sin upon us. At times things are thrust in our direction causing the disability we carry through our lives. Other times we disable ourselves by the decisions we make.
We are all struggling to make it, do our job, keep at it, trying our best to overcome this handicap, this crippling ailment. It is the sin that so easily besets us and hinders us, keeping us from being all we could be. All we were meant to be.
There is One who gives us a chance every single time. He is patient and kind. He offers His full assistance and forever love. He tells us we can make it, we can do it, but not on our own. We need Him to make our lives full and rich and abundant.
It matters not if all our limbs work correctly or our vision is impaired, if we walk with a limp or need a scooter to get around. It’s not about our struggle with depression, or if we have messed up over and over. It’s about God loving us just the way we are, right here, right now, in the mess of our fragile lives, in the mess we have made of them.
He gives us Himself and gives us a chance. He offers His love and we learn to love in return. He makes us better than we could ever be on our own. He is our peace, our strength, our sound mind, and our help.
He is all we need for life, for joy, for a future.
The lesson was what I needed today. A burst of joy on an otherwise ordinary busy day.
He is strong. He is good. He is kind. He is exactly what my heart cries out for.