Thursday, April 11, 2013

Groceries


I was in the grocery store today and discovered after the cashier had processed my groceries that I did not have my wallet with me. I asked him to leave my groceries there while I went home and got my wallet. 

 The lady standing next to me told the cashier to put my groceries on her bill.  I told him not to and that I would just be back in 20 minutes or less.  He took the side of the lady who wanted to pay for my groceries and so I walked out a free woman. I say that considering that I was also driving without a license ;-)  

The employee is a man I've seen at the store for years and years and he said that many people come up "short" of money and someone behind them pays for it and will not tell their name or phone number or address.  He said it had happened to him, too.


 I walked with the lady out to the parking lot and found her car parked close to mine. She told me the same thing had happened to her a few days ago and she couldn't find her money. Someone next to her insisted on paying for her groceries. She still would not give me her name.

  Being on the receiving end of generosity is not as comfortable to me as being on the giving-end, so I will certainly be alert to what is going on ahead of me at the grocery store, and looking for an opportunity to "repay" the favor by helping someone else.

Thank you for buying my groceries today.  I always thought Americans were nice people and I've always felt blessed and spoiled to live here. I hope I can spoil other people, too. As Christians, we believe that giving is a blessing to others that brings more blessings on ourselves which we can continue to pass on to others:

"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."  2 Corinthians 9:6



I remember one snowy winter that I had become very concerned about a tree that was blocking my view down the road where I had drive. After several close calls with logging trucks or farm machinery, I decided to cut the tree down.  I thought it was on my property, but it turned out to be one of those marker-trees that a farmer puts on the corners of his property.  Was the neighboring farmer ever angry when he saw that tree cut down.  I did not know at the time that property lines were not exactly what they looked like; that tree really looked like it was on my property.

I was profusely apologetic and offered to plant a new tree but he declined.  Eventually the old tree grew up again around the stump, and the branches once again blocked the road from view. I decided not to make a fuss about it this time. I was so glad that tree was still alive and had grown again. Apparently it was a tree planted in memory of the farmer's father, when his father died and passed the farm on to him. 

On a very snowy winters day in the morning I saw 2 men with a chainsaw cutting down that tree, right out the front window.For a moment I thought maybe someone was deliberately vandalizing the neighbor's property and I thought how angry the farmer was going to be when he found that tree was once again, chopped down.

I closed the curtains and went to the kitchen for awhile, trying to mind my own business.  When I came back to the front door, there was a big pile of firewood stacked on the porch. The farmer had cut the tree down so I could have a safer view of the road when driving out of my driveway. He and his son had then cut it into little logs and stacked it on my front porch, and left, without a word.
A Difficult Question
by George Goodwin Kilburn


There is a quiet organization called the Christian Relief Fund in Amarillo, Texas,  that I have, in the past, participated in. Many preachers reported the dismal state of orphanages in various countries of the world. Desperate parents who wanted their children to have food and shelter would leave their children in orphans homes. Many of these children had at least one living parent. Through Christian Relief Fun, our family supported a handicapped girl who lived at home with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in the Ukraine. Each month, the local preacher would take the money that we and others sent, and personally distributed it to the families. This provided a way for the children to remain in the care of their mothers and fathers in dire circumstances, and also a chance for the local preacher to offer a Bible lesson and teach them the gospel.  Through this, I was able to remain friends with the family for almost 20 years. The little girl is now grown and has been able to afford several surgeries to help her walk.  It does not take a lot of American money to support someone like this. I still talk to the mother and her daughter on Skype and we have remained friends. I like this program because you can actually know the family of the child you are supporting, see inside their homes and learn more about them.

Many Americans support people in other parts of the world, in this way. Christians know that life is precious and will do what they can for the handicapped and the hungry.  They in turn are greatly blessed at home because of these efforts.


25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! What wonderful, wonderful stories.

JES said...

What lovely stories of practical Christianity. Thank you for sharing those! It made my morning :)

Michele said...

Oh wow, what a blessing! And the blessings keep on going because we're all going to be blessed by reading about it. :)

Anonymous said...

With so much bad news in the press about Americans and what bad people we are in every area of life. Stingy, selfish, stupid, vapid, capitalist pigs, etc. It is so nice to hear good news about real people. These are the real Americans, These people you described are the kinds of citizens I grew up with (I'm in my fifties now). Every citizen needs to hear about how good we are, not how bad we are. When people only hear about how bad they are it becomes a self fulling prophecy. Americans are good, but the media has been painting a very different story over the years to make people believe differently. People become what they believe.

Thank you for reminding me of how good our American culture is, the real America, Christian America. The people in your accounts are what make this country great. These selfless acts are to always come from individuals as the God intended.

Shaolin

LadyLydia said...

Shaolin,

You are singing my tune.
I am formulating a post in my mind, on this subject.
A lot of the talk about the fat, rich, lazy Americans comes from jealousy, rudeness and hatred. It is wrong to hate people. I've been around Americans long enough to be able to say that I never hear them talk bad about another nation. I never hear them say that Mexico is a wicked place and that Central America is full of thieves, even if such places exist. Americans are polite people, but it is not wise to rile them up too much, because they not only have the power to turn off the lights but if they are followers of Christ they also have another power of the Lord of Hosts, and when you attack them, you are attacking a host. I could say much more about this but will save it for a post. The hatred toward the real Americans; the ones that do good deeds and feed the poor, is out of hatred, because it is all about hatred, and it is wrong to hate. It is also part of the effort to demoralize the West and make them think that because they are advanced enough to have sanitation and flushing toilets, washers and dryers, and beautiful homes, that they are indulgent and greedy. Remember the communists said that America would fall into their hands like a ripe apple, wihtout a war, but the real war is in words. Demoralizing a nation will always take place first by creating a huge amount of guilt over our happiness, our families, our faith in God and over our blessings. But to feel guilty because we have a car, a house with running water, grocery stores and Wal-Marts is to say we are guilty of receiving good from God and from the people that work hard, invent things, create business, keeping people working.

This is all of course, a slap in the face of God, who created man to work and to enjoy the fruits of his labour, which can be traced back to the beginning of the Bible.

LadyLydia said...

In an army the soldiers are expected to be loyal to their country. It would be considered treasonous to talk in a demoralizing way about the country you serve.

In the Lord's "army" we need to be careful not to run ourselves down, run down the church, run down the family, or run down your country. It is a sign that you are weak and the enemy will make great progress infiltrating your ranks.

I think you notice that I will not put up with it anynore. When someone says something rude about the home, the Lord's church or the country I tell them they are merely parroting their religion of doom, gloom and hatred.

Anonymous said...

What you say is true, Lady Lydia. It seems to be the fashionable thing these days for Americans to run down their own country, & yes, the foundations of it, which are Christian principles.

We have, unfortunately, evolved from a people who were appreciative of their American birthright, into a people who either continually grumble or grovel. The haters mistake the confident happiness of Christ-believing individuals for an attitude of arrogance; coarseness of behavior is praised over simple warmth, or earthiness. Hard working individuals are seen as greedy, work-a-holic types. And it doesn't matter if they quietly & consistently help their communities, haters will pick through their giving to find out how much they gave, & criticize them for not giving or doing such & such.

Yes, please! Write about this subject. You are a plain-speaking person, & I'm eager to read what you have to say.

Brenda

LadyLydia said...

There is a huge amount of behind-the-scenes hard work and helpfulness going on. We are so accustomed to feeling like we are unacceptable that it is sometimes hard to focus on what is really going on. Most people do not want anyone to notice the extra things they do.

LadyLydia said...

Brenda: Grovelling ;-( Did anyone watch that hilarious video of a reporter asking Margaret Thatcher to "make a little jump" just to show a lighter side of her? I loved her steely dignity. It was called "Margaret Thatcher won't jump even if others do," (or something like that). This kind of thing is part of our culture now; that we must act completely stupid or else we are "conceited" or think we are better than others. If we don't tell all and cry and blubber and grovel, then we are hiding something and are guilty, guilty. Oh my, we do need to bring back more of this dignity that Margaret Thatcher displayed in that video.

LadyLydia said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiMs165tVdw

Joluise said...

There are lots of kind people about but we tend to focus on those who aren't and assume they are the norm when they aren't. The media also like us to believe this too but I rarely bump into someone who is unsavory in my daily travels. I am sure most Americans (Christian and non Christian alike ) are kind and generous we just need to look better. It's a lovely story in the grocery store and passing on such a lovely act is wonderful.

The Lady of the House said...

I love to read stories like this. They bring me much joy and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed your post.

At Christmas time this year and the past several years there has been a feature on the evening news about people fully paying it forward for others who have things on layaway at the local K-Mart store.
That is so kind to hear and so encouraging.

That person at the store who paid for your items has started more then just one random act of kindness.

When we moved to Oregon in 2005 the first thing I noticed about the people here was their kindness and generosity. Someone gave us a welcome gift when we first moved here and I noticed how generous people were to others who had life threatening illnesses. Always having a fund raiser for an operation, paying for a funeral, or donating to some cancer fund for someone.

Yes, Americans are and always have been kind generous people. You only hear about the bad ones.
Thank you for sharing.

Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I did see the Margaret Thatcher video! Oh, my goodness. Wasn't she something?...the way she simply, & without any embarassment, declined to participate in the jumping "gimmick". The interviewer says, something to the effect of, "Mr. Gorbachev did it." And Mrs. Thatcher nails it then, saying, "I wonder what he thought of the politics of our free society."

Rest in peace, Mrs. Thatcher.

Brenda

LadyLydia said...

Brenda, when she asked what would someone think of a free society, with that kind of gimmicky stuff going on, I remembered that way back in the 50's we were taught to think that way: what kind of message are we giving to people who do not live here; what kind of reputation are we giving our country, our family, the church we are members of, by all the things we do, our attitudes, our manner of dressing, the way we raise our children, even the attitude we hacve toward keeping house. Every decision was filtered through the influence it would be on someone. Recently someone asked me why my daughter and I interact the way we do, by discerning what each other's needs are. Sometimes I will go and wash her dishes and help her with laundry; other times she will come and say, "Mother, you sit down and blog, and I'll sweep the floor for you." My friend, who was of a different culture, said we should not do that, but I explained that in the Biblical sense we are to perceive the needs of others and be on the look-out for ways to help. The friends said, "Well your daughter is old enough to take care of herself," and I said, "I am also old enough to take care of myself. But we are a very interactive family, trying to help with each other's goals." This is absolutely alien to some people, but the difference is Christ, who teaches us to love one another, even if there is no earthly reward for it, for thereby you lay up treasures for yourself in heaven. This has been imbedded in us from our youth.

Pam said...

What sweet stories. I love stories like this... very special. Also, I really liked the charity organization you were talking about, and how they work.

living from glory to glory said...

To be able to sow seeds of kindness and to be doing charitable deeds. We must always look for and expect goodness and kindness of heart. No matter how hard or dark these days can be. For we are to be the light of the world. Really sweet, to hear of the blessings and I know you will find the exact situation to bless another!
Blessings, Roxy

Anonymous said...

I too remember trying to watch what we did that others might not perceive America or my town or family's reputation would not be tarnished. We were mindful of what we did in God's eyes, our families, the town even our schools would not be shown in a bad light. I am deplored by the TV shows that people in other countries see of ours. How they must think we live and our moral character!! :( So many people around us do many charitable things behind the scenes. We are not like these shows in general. Obviously some are as some are reality shows about people's lives, although some night be aggravated. I hope so. Thank you for some good news. I remember being around my big family and thinking they never talk about one another. Even when some were absent they only had good things to say about them. What a wonderful example. We were raised that if you can't say something nice about someone to not say anything. Reputation was something everyone guarded.Your family was your mainstay. Your foundation. The foundation of society and your life. That foundation was and is the bottom line for your life and others and must stay strong. From that foundation springs the other relationships and onto that the country. America was strong because of this foundation too. God knew how important families are. Sarah

Sarah R said...

Oooh, I'd like to tell a little story. People truly do watch Christians, hoping we'll mess up so they can point out our errors.

I live in an area where there are delightful springs to swim in. My husband and I bought a yearly pass and bring our three children frequently. There is a snack bar with somewhat overpriced, yet not Disney overpriced food items. Of course after an afternoon of swimming, playing, fishing, climbing, hiking, running and such, my children were STARVING. And I had forgotten to pack a lunch. Uh oh! I checked my wallet and realized I had $20. So I walked them down to the snack bar. I let all three make their order, and it came up to $16. I paid for their lunches, and THEN I ordered myself something.

The lady who took my order was delighted. "You must be a Christian!" she exclaimed. Let me tell you, Christianity was not on my mind AT ALL. I was just ordering burgers and drinks for my kids! She took me completely by surprise! I smiled and said, "Yes, I am...how can you tell?" Her answer brought tears to my eyes.

"You smiled and laughed with your kids. You didn't scold them for being hungry. You didn't yell at me because of the prices. And you fed them first before you thought of yourself."

This happened...easily 8-9 years ago, when my children were much smaller. I think about it alot. We still go to these springs, and I still see that lady, and we wave at each other.

People are watching us, Ladies. Even in ordinary places, we should be pointing people toward Him. Even if we never speak a word, simply by our actions and countenance. Have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

Sarah,

Your comment has convicted me mightily. I have allowed myself to become a grouchy, bitter mother, allowing others' comments to affect me and how I interact with my children. I have apathetic and depressed kids who cry a lot. I am quite discouraged. I'm a homeschool Mom who watched all my dreams go up in smoke because I allowed myself to be influenced by others so as to obtain their approval -- and I didn't obtain their approval anyway!

They are still young, so I hope there is still time -- and it is hard.

LadyLydia said...

Sarah, Reputation was guarded because it had to do with laying the foundations for your future. We did not tell personal faults of our family to the public, and many parents warned their children not to complain about the family to other people. If this was allowed, then the family was weakened. Above all, it was important to give Christ a good reputation. After all, if you claimed to be a follower of Jesus, you would want others to admire Him and admire the way of life He taught. Your way of life was supposed to be an example of following Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Yes Lady Lydia you hit it right on the head. This was just the way we were taught, A lot being taught just by example and some by word. Most every family I knew lived their life like this. Your family was your unit and although I knew a few of my family members had faults at times that others might like to gossip about you would't hear any of us spreading stories around. Likewise though they would not put up with one who broke the law blatantly who was part of the family. God's laws, the laws of the land, and the laws of decency mattered. Oh did all of us love America! None of us certainly did not feel funny at all if someone saw us with a tear come down our cheek when we sang patriotic songs. We were taught how blessed we were to live here and to not dishonor it either. It smarts still when I hear people putting down the office of the Presidency or this land. Discussion is one thing belittling is another. I know America is not perfect but it is our home and God has blessed us with it. Although many of our relatives came to this country from 'the old country' they turned their total allegiance to it. The head of our whole extended family though was Jesus. I can truly say that. I feel we were so blessed to be a part of a family like this. Now it is our turn to keep up this tradition. I don't think it is old fashioned thinking at all. Sarah

Michelle said...

I am just reading the comments from this post. Lady Lydia, thank you for sharing how you and your daughter interact. My mom and my mother-in-law did a lot of my grocery shopping for many years. They wanted to relieve some of my burden, since I had four kids and I was homeschooling. It was how they thought they could help. My mother-in-law also would have my children up for lunch one day a week and spend the afternoon with them (they live just up the lane). It was wonderful. If I had a baby at the time, then the baby would stay home with me. Of course, there were things we would do for our parents at times and now that they're older even more so. Now my boys mow my Mom's lawn and trim, etc. Thank you for reminding me that this interaction is a beautiful and wonderful thing. I feel very blessed. I think homeschooling and learning about God's desire for families has helped me to want this interaction always. And thank you for pointing out how we should be careful what we say to other people about family members, our country, etc.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blessing. So good to hear about kind hearts.

Country Victorian said...

Lydia,

I've known you personally for many years and you are extremely giving. I think very generous people like yourself can be surprised when they find themselves on the receiving end:) You are right it can make one feel uncomfortable especially without a return gesture allowed. Givers want to bless everyone they meet and it is hard to be the final recipient.

I was reminded that when we allow another to give a gift, kindness or gesture to us, they in turn receive a huge blessing (sometimes bigger than our own).
We definitely would not want them to miss out! So by receiving your grocery's you were also giving. You opened a window for the Lord to bless that dear lady standing in line! Her blessing may come in an unexpected way where she needed it the most! Thanks for sharing this wonderful testimony!

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