Have you ever been in your car alone, received good news and look around to realize you have no one to share it with? That happened to me a few weeks ago as I was driving through Panera. I had a mammogram that was questionable and a week later had to have another one and an ultrasound. The nurse called me on my cell phone to tell me everything was normal and I was elated.
I always listen to a radio station that advocates sharing “JOY” with someone which also happens to be their call letters. I had not done that in quite awhile, and since I had no one to tell the good news to, I wanted to pay for the car behind me and share my joy. When I got to the window, I told the young lady asking for my Panera card that I also wanted to pay for the car behind me. She looked at me like a puppy hearing a high-pitched noise. She said, “Oh, you know her, right?” I explained to her that I had just received some good news and I wanted to do something nice for someone else and share my joy. Again, apparently, the high-pitched noise. She finally gave me the combined totals, and I handed her the money.
I slowly pulled away checking my bag with my lunch. I heard a lot of honking behind me and looked in my rearview mirror to see the car whose lunch I paid for, waving out the window and laying on the horn. I was getting embarrassed because I was thinking she wanted to thank me and that was not why I did it. So, I pulled over in front of Dobbs, and the lady pulled behind me and got out of her car. I was trying to practice my most humble, “Oh, it was nothing” when I realized by her body language on the way to my car she was mad! Really mad! As my Granny would say, "Madder than a wet hen!" I tried only to roll down my window halfway until I could feel her out, but I’m not sure electric windows do that.
She leaned her head in my window and was yelling at me, “You don’t know me! Who do you think you are buying my lunch? I didn’t ask you to buy me a $%$#@ thing! Now you think I owe you something?” My head was spinning. No way I expected this. When I get nervous, I have a tendency to ramble. So, I was trying to explain I had a bad mammogram, my husband has cancer, it’s really bad timing, but is there ever good timing for a bad mammogram, I just had another mammogram earlier that morning and an ultrasound, the nurse called while I was in the car, I saw her car, I listen to JOY FM radio, they say you should “Joy” someone and I did, didn’t you notice the pink sticker on the back of my car, she happened to be the car behind me at the time I decided to “joy” someone and no I don’t know her, but God knows her and no I don’t expect anything in return, that never occurred to me. Wheww!
All of a sudden, I hear someone knocking on my passenger window. It was one of the guys from Dobbs. He wanted to know if I was okay. I looked at the lady leaning in my window and asked, “Am I okay?” She had a hint of a smile and told me I was okay. I turned to the Dobbs gentleman and assured him I would be fine.
The “Joyed” lady asked me again if I thought she owed me anything. I tried in a more calm less rambling mode, to explain to her how blessed I am and I pray she is blessed as well. She backed away a little from my car and was a little misty eyed when she said, “No one, no one has ever given me anything they did not expect something in return.” Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks. I told her I would pray for her and that the only thing God wants from her is devotion. I asked her if she had a church, and she said it had been a few years since she had been in a church. I told her that my husband and I would love to have her go to church with us. She backed away a little more and pointed her finger at me. She had a reluctant smile as she said, “You’re okay, lady!”
She tapped the back of my car as she headed back to hers. I don’t know if she was touching the sticker or giving me the signal to leave. I sat in my car not moving for a minute trying to take it all in. I had a feeling someone was looking at me and realized the Dobbs guy was still standing there. I rolled the window down and told him I was fine and thanked him for being concerned. I started to explain to him what had transpired, and he waved at me and told me to have a good day. He must have sensed my ability to ramble.
The thing the Lord taught me in this encounter is that you never know what hurt may be going on in someone else’s life and how you can be the vessel to pour out His love. I will probably never see that woman again, but I have prayed for her consistently and God knows who she is. That’s all that really matters.
By Pat Schwieder